Everything has just about wound down now after last nights Creators Cup event in Athens, Greece. It was part of an all day event celebrating our hosts 2 year of operation or The Underdog Cafe's 2nd Birthday.
The day started with the Creators Cup green bean sponsors Panama Variatles giving a fantastic presentation about Panama and what they do to make that coffee so tasty followed with a cupping of this seasons fresh (flown in the week before) crop coffees and a couple of unmarked secret geisha coffees too.
After the cupping we were left to enjoy some of the fantastic coffees and delicious food that The Underdog provide before Creators Cup started in the late afternoon.
I highly recommend a visit to Athens to sample The Underdogs offerings and let us also remember that is a really strong coffee scene here too. So a weekend in Athens can be a mix of great coffees, great walks and a lot of historical exhibits and sights. Not Sold yet? Did I forget to mention The Underdog is home to Three (3) World Champions in Coffee in Good Spirits? This means there are also fantastic cocktails on offer. Now hurry up and visit Athens!
On to the event. The Athens Creators Cup.
I was astonished! The level of attention and thought put into the brewing devices was next level.
The competition was held in the main space of the cafe and we had a good turnout. With all the audience, phones at the ready, and our lovely MCs calling in our competitors the night went off with a bang. Unfortunately "there could only be one" (Highlander references anyone?). And two runners up.
The runners up.
Best Brew in the Athens Creators Cup. Stelios with his copper coil brewer that is able to be filled with hot water in order to create a stable brewing temperature throughout your brew. This device is much reminiscent of a Hario v60 but due to the temperature stability and I suspect the air pockets between the coils this provided the judges with a tasty and balanced brew.
Stelios for me really is also the type of person I would love to see more of in Creators Cup. He is a passionate home brewer who reads a lot and practices a lot. Our industry really should be more welcoming to this enthusiasm and input and I am so happy Stelios came to compete. As you can tell from his award his lack of industry credit is not to his detriment and his brewer was certainly pulling at our barista heart strings (I wouldn't mind having one of those for my house vibes).
Best Design in the Athens Creators Cup. Chris with his three tier multi particle size brewing device. This was something the was really a fantastic concept. What happens if you separate the fines (coffee dust), boulders (big chunks of coffee) and middle (the bit we most wish to brew)? Well to start with it makes someone build a Jenga tower, yes jingo like the wooden block game. The tower had a central support for the middle grinds, and top support for the boulders and a lower cradle to sit on a brewer for the fines. The brew was started with the boulders being steeped (left in hot water to soak) in the top section. Then a valve was opened and that boulder and water concoction was poured over the middle grinds where the brew dripped through a filter paper into the final stage where it passed through a filter paper containing the fines eventually making its way into the service vessel. This device was fun to watch and you definitely were curious to try the final extraction. But remember not to breath to hard or you will knock over the tower. Only joking it was all glued in place (credit to this joke goes to Chris although I am sure I ruined it).
THE OVERALL WINNER of the Athens Creators Cup. Giannis with his sous vide coffee brewer. Inspired by his friends baby milk warming device Giannis decided to create a coffee sous vide and well... it worked. This device looked pretty damn interesting and with it heating rod bubbling away in the water there was an element of anticipation.
The device worked by allowing the coffee to steep in the sous vide to maintain temperature and then be poured into a funnel (holding a filter paper) that passes through the sous vide and out the bottom. This created a stable brewing temperature throughout the entire process ending with a sweet and clean coffee.
This device is something that our judging panel were discussing about having in a cafe as way to excite customers and baristas. Giannis perhaps your device would like to tour some cafes in Europe this year?
IN SUMMARY: Creators Cup Athens was a treat. The devices were all really thinking outside the box and the competitors were fantastic. With each Creators Cup I am seeing what this can offer other than just a fun time brewing on a makeshift brewer trying to break the mould. It is a physical representation on the competitor. You can see their personalities and what is important to them through the device. For some it is precision for others coming up with an original idea and for another it is about the process of working through blood sweat and tears to create something you a proud to showcase.
What I am happy about most is that this is not a competition about coffee or performance. This is a competition about thought, concept and execution. A competitor could win without even having to talk if they are shy, not that it has happened, because the scores are for the device and the brew only. And here in Athens I really felt that was the case. We had competitors who tried to do everything to showcase their idea and personalities through brewing.
Well done to all of you.
Judges: I would like to thank all the judges. You were a well calibrated machine that made this all work smoothly and without argument. A special thanks to Gwilym and Petra who took time out of their day off in Athens to judge.
Thanks to The Underdog for the space, support and drinks.
Thanks to Bunn for providing grinders and boilers to the competition as well as their support in helping Creators Cup from the start (Paul, UK, Giulia, Europe and Emma, Greece).
Thanks to Panama Variatles for once again supplying delicious compulsory coffee.
Thanks to Standart magazine for the prizes.