In world-level competitions like this the coffee you start with is fundamental to your chance of placing highly.
So making that initial selection is a big deal.
Elysia Tan chose a coffee she knows and loves from her roastery, and Adán had also chosen his coffee early on, but all the other participants used their IKAWAs heavily in the sample evaluation process.
For Kevin David, sample evaluation on an IKAWA is a core part of their processes already; “IKAWA was my first sample roaster and it’s my current one still. Before, I had roasted samples from green importers.
It’s better, it’s more convenient to receive green samples. You can roast when you want to cup it. It’s changed the way we do our schedule.”
These benefits go beyond simply being great for sample roasting – IKAWA adds value by fundamentally shifting what is possible to do with the finite amount of time and money we all have.
To decide which coffee to use, competitors often wanted to sample more coffees than you would have for a regular purchase decision at the roastery. Agneszka Rojewska ordered several coffees in 1kg packs from Forward Coffee and was quickly able to evaluate them, as well as exploring their potential with a couple of different roasts.
“IKAWA gives me the possibility to buy a few of those, roast the samples and play with the profiles, so I was mostly using the IKAWA to choose the coffee and choose the roast profile – and I was actually roasting for two other competitors!”
“For me, the IKAWA is mostly a tool of checking the potential of coffee on a very small amount. It’s much easier to roast 50g and know.”