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Allbrews throws down the real deal
The newest kid on the throw down circuit throws down a heck of a night!
The sun was slowly setting on a crisp winter’s night in Wellington, as the newest kid on the throw down circuit opened its arms with a warm embrace.
The cool kid coffee club loves nothing more than testing their skills in events that take themselves far too seriously. Too often they can be very unapproachable for the humble home barista.
Allbrews took all the weird things about those events, kicked them to touch, and left only the fun, only the smiles, and only the good times.
Before we get too far, what is a throw down?
The road to success and fun at Allbrews was a simple one:
Open the bag of the mystery coffee that arrived in the mail the previous week.
Look at your ever growing cupboard filled with coffee toys, tools and tat.
Start at the beginning and spend a week figuring out which of your brewers make the coffee taste the best.
Bring the vibes to the night, sink some beers and try to replicate that on stage.
There were 18 brewmasters split into six heats. In each of the three person heats, competitors had four minutes to set up, and a further five minutes to brew their method of choice.
After five minutes, each brewmaster had to serve at least 150ml of their bean infused council juice for the judges to taste them, before they delivered their judgement.
It’s fast paced. Action packed. Vibe infused. Coffee fueled.
Brewers, brewers everywhere
As everyone had to use the same coffee, it all came down to which method would get the best out of the coffee, and which brewmaster could execute on the night.
It’s a mixture of skill, expertise, luck and experimenting.
The brilliant thing is that even the home barista can get involved and excel. It’s not limited to the people who are experts in the field of coffee extraction, but open to those who just love making themselves a killer coffee. There were at least three home baristas competition, me included. Two of those legends made it passed the first round (Matt T and Richard - see pic above).
If you went in with an open mind, willing to experiment and learn, this event rewarded you in spades.
Long-time TMR contributor Matt T reflected as much in the days following the event.
“Home brewers make coffee in isolation - for many it’s a solo thing. I love coffee so much and feel like I’m only scratching the surface of it. I’ve moved through brew techniques and have arrived at Origami - after ages at AeroPress - but I always felt I was doing it half baked,” Matt said.
“I just experiment with ratios and focus on flavours. By the time you’re 100g into a 250g baggie I’ve dialled it in and just enjoy.
“The point is to get up and brew with some of the best cats around, and it was just so fucking coooooool. It broke down all the scary walls and endorsed everything I love about coffee.
“Coffee is a ritual. For me it is about being relaxed, but disciplined. For others, it’s different. It was awesome to observe the range of talent and ethos that folks brought to the floor.
“To bring, what is a deeply solo endeavour, brewing at home - into a social space with a light competitive vibe is something that rocks. Met some very cool people. As it turns out, my people.”
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A slow brewer does not a winning brew make
My brewer for the evening was the Tricolate.
The Tricolate is a very interesting brewer, as it ensures all of the brew water passes through all of the coffee. This is unlike conical shaped brewers (like a V60) where some water passes between the filter paper and the brewer, without going through the coffee.
The result of this method are very high extractions. That is, way more of the coffee greatness gets infused with the water than with other brewers.
While I was able to make good coffee with the Tricolate at home, for some reason, on the time, my coffee brewed a lot slower than I had anticipated. I had to cut my brew short and serve an undercooked coffee that the judges weren’t a fan of.
I wasn’t disappointed though. The competition made me really focus on this brewer for the first time. I learnt a lot and understand extraction way more that I did before this event. Massive win.
I’ll be writing a dedicated review of the Tricolate in the coming weeks.
Coffee legends, doing legendary things
The accessible feeling of the event was amplified by the legends who put it on.
Logan from Hammerstone Coffee, Freya from Mojo Coffee, Jordy from People’s Coffee, Joe from Mojo Coffee and Jules from Coffee Supreme are hands down the kinds of people that the scene needs to continue to cherish and support.
These people are experts in the game, but their humble approach means they do not hesitate to share their knowledge and help old-average-coffee-geek bring their coffee game to a new level.
And in between the brewing, you got to chat with some of the absolutely best people and a who’s who of the Wellington Coffee scene. From 2021 NZ Barista Champ Luise Metelka and 2023 Barista Champ Kawashima Honoka, to NZSCA President Megan Wyper (from ACME Cup Co), and head of education at Mojo, John Cole.
And of course many many many many more.
The winning brew
So, who won? We all won. It felt like we all won. And it’s more about feeling like you’ve won right? That’s what my LinkedIn says anyway.
Here’s his brew recipe:
Coffee: 35g - grind size unknown.
Water: 100g at 85 degrees
Stir vigorously for 20 seconds.
Let it brew until 1:00 minute.
Dilute with 100g water.
I’ve made this method at home, and I can see why he won.
Everyone involved with Allbrews should be chuffed. I know Matt was: