We will dive deeper into each champions story in future blog posts, but we needed to recap this. Especially because we found they all said similar things motivated them to use the IKAWA Sample Roaster.
First off – batch size. Competition coffees are special, and rare and usually very expensive. Using an IKAWA allowed them to trial different profiles with almost no waste.
Second – repeatability and control. “First crack would happen within 1 second of where I expected it to be, everytime” explained Ben Put; the IKAWA Sample Roaster is probably the most repeatable and consistent roaster available so small and precise improvements in the roast profile meant, well, just that. The competitors were able to make finer, more precise, adjustments to their profiles and know that each time they roasted their coffees, that same profile would be replicated.
Third – time to peak flavour. Ben said he was pulling his espressos between 1 and 3 days off roast, whereas he normally would be waiting 7 to 10 days for coffees roasted on his production roaster. Feedback from Ben and a lot of other IKAWA users is that coffees roasted on the IKAWA seem to taste at their peak earlier than other roasters. This can not only provide flexibility (explained below), but it can cut the time in half to develop a winning roast profile.
Finally, portability. Combined with the third point here, time to peak flavour, the portability of the IKAWA makes it a competition ace up the sleeve. One of the most nerve wracking experiences is trying a coffee for competition after flying with it. If it didn’t show up well, there wasn’t much hope of flying home, re-roasting it and flying back. Ben traveled with his roaster and if his coffee didn’t taste good in Korea, he was easily able to re-roast on site.
Andre traveled with his green coffee and his roast profiles on his app, and used an IKAWA Sample Roaster in Korea in preparation for the competition.
After hearing this feedback we quickly put together a project to help get the IKAWA into national champions’ hands.
IKAWA is offering to loan an IKAWA Sample Roaster to 6 national champions to use in preparation for, and if needed during, the 2018 WBC.
Our criteria is flexible, but we want to support those who will be helped most by the loan and those that can be more competitive with access to the IKAWA Sample Roaster. We will consider all applications, and up to 6 will be selected.