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An Overview of the NERBC Final Round

Posted on April 10, 2011 by

Sam Penix [Everyman Espresso] – Sam uses Apollo from Counter Culture Coffee. His signature drink: the “Apollo Flip”,  was influenced by fine dining and mixology, also by the bad coffee served in great restaurants. The drink contains chilled espresso, Meyer lemon for punchy acidity, blood orange for some beautiful sweetness, and egg “because it’s a flip” (the egg also adds creamy body). It’s a “refreshing drink with just the right amount of acidity, sweetness, refreshing in the perfect way to end any meal.” No special instructions, just sip and enjoy.

Philip Search [Dallis Brothers Coffee] – Philip’s intention is to tell a story of words and flavors, using two different coffees. Because his Costa Rican coffee has orange blossom and honey characteristics, that’s exactly what he adds to an ISI charger. Also added to the charger is lapsang souchong tea, heirloom orange, grapefruit peel, tamarin. The Honduran coffee has unrefined sugar sweetness characteristics, so Phillip also adds dried cane sugar and smoked sea salt to the charger.

In addition to roasting his own coffee, Philip built his own grinder (and has it dialed in to precisely 18.5 grams). “It’s nice to have a grinder that works as expected.”

Mike Jones [Third Rail Coffee] - Mike’s goal is to prepare “approachable quality” with three courses, while explaining the flavors highlighted during each course and why. He starts by brewing two pourovers (one of Yirgacheffe Adado, and one of Sulawesi Toarco – both from Stumptown) to be used at the end of his set.

Mike’s signature drink is a deconstructed taste experience designed to pair with mouthfeel and acidity. A pre-prepared rhubarb reduction designed to play off the Adado, and coffee honey (made into a foam) from bees on a coffee farm in Guatemala to play off the Toarco. He asks that the judges sip from the Toarco he brewed earlier and to notice the mouthfeel. He then asks them to sip the Adado and notice the red fruit. The judges then follow that with a full sip of the signature beverage to notice how the rhubarb plays with the red fruit. And finally, they stir everything together and observe how combined all the flavors change completely.

Wiggles Peters [Irving Farm] – Wiggles is using an El Salvador coffee with a “clean finish, fruit flavors, caramel/butterscotch, and tropical fruit like pineapple.” To highlight the refreshing acidity and nice sweetness, Wiggles adds simple syrup to a cocktail shaker, sparking water for effervescence, and adds the espresso on top. He chills them all together in the cocktail shaker, then toasts small pieces of pineapple with a syphon burner for the judges to eat prior to tasting the signature drink.

Brandon Duff [RBCNYC] – Brandon is using a Kenya from Counter Culture Coffee that has notes of milk chocolate with acidity creeping up behind. He adds it to both a nut, and cherry reduction before stirring it all together. Each glass is filled with lazer cut ice and rubbed with an orange twist. Judges are asked to look for notes of herbaceous nut with a little bit of dark berry finish that are brightened with the acidity highlighted by the orange rub. Brandon then asks the judges to sip it and enjoy without further instruction.

Park Brannen [Cafe Grumpy] - Park is using the El Paraiso, from Huila, Colombia, which is fermented and dried on raised beds at the farm to yield a clean and balanced espresso with notes of red raspberry, maple, honey, and lime with cocoa in the back. Park adds visual representations of these flavors to an inverted aeropress on the judges table while Willy Nelson provides the tunes. Park is using different extractions for his espresso and signature drinks (with the help of what looks like a Ditting KED640 Twin). The espresso goes into an ice bath to cool down before Park moves on to the cappuccino round (but not before comparing his drink to a Manhattan Special, the bottled and carbonated espresso beverage made in the same neighborhood as the Grumpy roastery). After serving the capps, Park mashes the ingredients in the aeropress over a steam pitcher through a Coava Disk before adding seltzer and straining the liquid over the chilled espresso. Judges are then asked to drop a piece of lime into their beverages, to stir it up for full integration, and enjoy.