Friday the 13th proved lucky for Hillsborough coffee roaster Joe Van Gogh Coffee. That’s the day the roaster placed first and won $100 in the second year of the Battle of the Roasters competition at the N.C. State Fair. The contest is sponsored by Dilworth Coffee.
Mello Coffee Roasters of Davidson was named reserve champion and earned $75. Honorable Mention and $25 went to Larry’s Coffee of Raleigh.
The 12 competitors were judged on aroma, flavor, aftertaste, acidity, body, balance and overall quality.
Exhibitors provided a written description of their coffee entry. The exhibitors were also responsible for roasted coffee beans for grinding and brewing coffee for a panel of three judges.
“There is such a great coffee community in North Carolina,” said Sarah Ray, public information officer at the N.C. State Fair. “It is a great way for us to help showcase our state’s specialty coffee roasters.”
First-place finsher Joe Van Gogh used one of its single-origin coffees, Ethiopian YirgZ, for the competition. “This is a coffee we sell in our stores and online and one that we use in many of our blends,” said Nicole Dutram, head coffee roaster for Joe Van Gogh. “I roast the coffee slightly different for a competition than what we do in the store. I was looking for brighter, more floral for the competition. In the store, we are going for bolder.”
The beans used in the competition are roasted for 10 to 12 minutes about one week before judging. “You have to give the beans time to sit for more of the flavor notes to come out,” Dutram said. “You want the judges to taste the coffee at its peak flavor.”
Dutram has been roasting coffee for two years and has been head roaster for Joe Van Gogh for about a year. She started working as a barista for Joe Van Gogh about five years ago. “Working at Joe Van Gogh, I fell in love with coffee. I bring that level of passion into the competition from start to finish. When you love coffee, you want to see it from start to finish — from farmer to supplier to roaster to consumer.”
If you want to try Dutram’s Ethiopan YirgZ , check out Joe Van Gogh’s stores in Chapel Hill and Durham or order online.