For Episode 6 of this podcast we bring you Dianne Wang who recently took home the 3rd place trophy from the New Zealand Brewer’s Cup competition (basically a contest to see who can make the tastiest cup of coffee). Dianne is also a contributing author at Sprudge, Perfect Daily Grind, and now her own project at ctitoolbox.com.
In this episode, we learn about Dianne’s career as a coffee writer, what the Brewer’s Cup is, how she prepared, and what motivates her to compete. We also get some advice on brew methods, how the variables affect taste, and a brew technique that uses two scales to measure both the pour and yield separately. Lots of interesting tips for people who are thinking about competing, but also great advice for brewing better coffee.
Dianne’s also a big part of the reason why I started the podcast. Responding to a request for feedback as an Angels’ Cup subscriber, she let me know she was using our tasting flights to help prepare for the Brewer’s Cup, which led me to realize there were people in our community with stories we need to get out. If you’re part of our community and placing in coffee competitions (or doing other really cool things), please reach out and let me know so we can get you on the show!
The Clever Dripper is the closest you can get to cupping, and that is easier to control and also give you better uniformity. But because it’s inversion, there’s also the possibility of over extraction.
If it’s darker roast, to bring out the best sweetness, I probably will go lower temperature around 88. If it’s a lighter roast I usually start with 92 and then to the adjustment from there.
I actually use two scales. The bottom scale is to measure my total water input. And the top scale is to measure my coffee yield so I know exactly when to stop my extraction. So I use 15 grams of coffee and 225 grams of water, but I stop all my extractions at 180 grams. It takes a lot of practice because you eyes have to look at two scales at the same time, and you have to watch yourself pouring water.
If it’s your first time competing, follow your gut, follow your heart. Just practice hard, as much as you can do. Don’t even think about if your coffee is good enough. Maybe some competitors will have a top quality Geisha, but brewing three cups at the same time takes a lot of practice. If they don’t have enough practice they may not produce a good enough cup.
I’ve been a coffee lover for years and I want to do something good in this industry. I’m not very good at public speaking, but thought is competition I’ve overcome this fear. And that’s one thing that inspired me to compete. I want to show people that I can do this.