Kaffefest 2013

Kaffefest 2013

By Chris Kolbu

The 4-6th of April saw the 2013 barista, cup tasting, brewing, latte art and coffee and spirits championships take place at Union Scene in Drammen, under the banner of Kaffefest 2013. The competitions were complemented by a selection of stands that were showcasing excellent coffees.

The barista championship – the big ticket event – was held across two days, with the finals held on Saturday. This year saw an open field of 14 competitors, 12 of whom where competing for the first time! As there were English speaking judges in the panel this year, most competitors chose to perform their routines using English.

Interesting new concepts were put to the test, often to great effect. This years’ winner was Rasmus Helgebostad, representing Java/Mocca this year, returning for the tenth time to take his second victory in as many years.

The winning presentation was an exploration of a flavour compound called Diacetyl. Common to fermented foods, it imparts a roundness of mouthfeel that is very sought after. Rasmus sought to explore the connections between ingredients that contain Diacetyl, and ended up with a tripartite drink that included filtered orange juice, saffron, sparkling water, sour cream and egg yolk. And coffee, naturally.

Rasmus’ coffee was an Ethopia/Honduras blend that earned high marks from the judges. Fingers crossed for Melbourne!

While it is difficult to judge competitors as part of the audience, with that crucial bit of information – what the drinks actually taste like – out of reach, there were a lot of interesting things going on this year.

Runner up (both this year and last), Rune Sandmark Johannesen had a very polished and the most technically complex routine this year, offering up three different extractions of his espresso for each of the drinks.

Unfortunately, mishaps are a permanent fixture in these types of competitions, and with the strict tolerances Rune had set for himself, it became difficult to recover time wise.

In the coffee brewing championship, Alexander Hansen of Java in Oslo took the prize with a Hario V60 brew of a Panamanian Geisha from Kaffa. This year, 4 out of 6 competitors were using the Hario V60. There was one Aeropress and one routine using the immersion brewing method of a cupping (coffee tasting) cup — with some added tricks.

The cup tasting championship this year was a fun, democratic project. There were almost fifty people signed up, and everyone was encouraged to give it a shot.

In the end, there were four finalists. Impressively, three of those were affiliated with Solberg & Hansen, Norway’s largest specialty coffee roaster. Winning with 7/8 cups was Nicolai Aunbakk from S&H in Oslo’s food hall, Mathallen.

Winner of Coffee in Good Spirits was Madelene Johnsen from Kaffebrenneriet. This years’ latte art champion (sorry, no photos!) is Simon, also from Kaffebrenneriet.

The award ceremony and dinner capped off three days of good, clean (and professionally rewarding) fun. Now it remains to be seen how the Norwegian champions fare internationally, and what the team they’ll make up will accomplish at the Nordic Barista Cup this year.

A full list of rankings for each of the contests should be getting published shortly on the official Kaffefest website, www.kaffefest.no.

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