What a ride! On the 25th of June 2022 the Championships for Coffee Roasting took place in Milan, Italy. Felix Teiretzbacher is the first Austrian to be announced World Coffee Roasting Champion!
But how exactly do you become Coffee Roasting Champion and how does it feel? Felix shares his experiences:
There are only a few spots available every year at the World Championship, so there has to be pre-selections for the contestants through state competitions. In my case I was the winner of the Austrian roasting competition both in 2019 and 2022 (2020 and 2021 were left out due to the pandemic) held by the SCA Austria . I already participated in the 2019 World Championships in Taiwan where I was able to make my first experiences in an international competition.
I had a few weeks to prepare myself and get everything ready for this adventure – as you can imagine, there is a lot to do in advance!
Before the competition I – almost completely – paused working at my roastery for two weeks to get fully into training mode. I want to say thank you to all the people who guided and supported me, let me practice with their equipment and shared their experiences with me. I also want to thank my team who made sure everything kept running smoothly during my absence!
Thenff to Milan. To be honest, I was quite happy that I didn’t have to travel around the world this time. „My“ competition took place over four days.
Day 1: Orientation Meeting and Lab Practice
Day 2: Sample Roasting, Open Cupping and Practice Roasting
Day 3: Production Roasting
Day 4: Judging of the Jury, Competitor Cupping and Announcement of the Winners
At the Orientation Meeting you get an introduction to the sight before you have an hour of Lab Practice to get familiar with the instruments that help analysing the raw coffee beans.
Sample Roasting: The competition officially starts! For the first time the competitors get the four competition coffees and have an hour to sample roast: to try how they change during the roasting process. Afterwards they have another hour for an open cupping with their coaches. This part is very important, because it is the only chance to actually try the coffees and decide the direction the final roast. That leads to the roasting plans every competitor has to make:
Two roasting plans have to be handed in the next morning (Day 3) — one is for a Single Origin and another one for a Blend (of the other three coffees provided). These plans have to describe not only the roasting process, but also give details about the final product, for example the tasting profile, body, sweetness, acidity, colour, temperature,…
There is also time on day two for Practice Roasting, which gives you 30 minutes to get familiar with the roaster (in this case a GiesenW6). For this purpose a „Dummy“ coffee is provided, which means you don’t get any information about the coffee beans like their origin or how they’ve been processed.
The Production Roasting starts! In only 90 minutes the two coffees the jury is going to judge are getting roasted. It is important to stick to the roast plan you made as much as possible. For that you need nerves made of steel!
I started with the Single Origin and continued with the Blend. I had a good feeling after the roasting, especially the blend turned out really well. I already thought then „Maybe I could make it into the top placements, let’s see what I can taste at the Competitors Cupping.“
An international Jury is judging the coffees in a blind tasting. With the criteria set in the roast plan it is possible to gain or leave points in a lot of different ways. At this point the score is still not official, but at the Competitors Cupping it is possible to try all roasted coffees of the competition. This is the opportunity to a) taste and try to find your own submissions and, b) try to analyse the competitors and evaluate your own chances.
And then… Please Wait.
The announcement of the winners was delayed longer and longer – with a weird feeling in my stomach I tried to distract myself by keeping busy.
The contestants were called onto the stage so that the top 4 could be announced. Will I be one of them? I have my hopes up, but obviously you never know.
„4th Place: Alex Nerantzis, Greece“
„3rd Place: Wisnu Aji, Indonesia“
My thoughts are going crazy. Did I take the right strategy? On which place will the Norwegian (I had him as my personal favourite in mind) going to be?
„2nd Place: Simo Christidi, Norway“
My ears started to glow. I felt it but I couldn’t realize it…
„And the new World Coffee Roasting Champion is: Ffffffelis Teeesdenbragga!“
It was so loud… I wasn’t sure if I heard right at first. Everyone was looking at me and my feet nearly gave in. From one second to another I am World Champion!
Two weeks have passed since, and I have to admit, I still can’t believe it. All these hours, weeks, years I have put into becoming the best roaster I could be. Over 10 years of passion, ambition and experience that lay behind me made it possible to win this title.
Many thanks again to all the people who have been and still are part of this journey.