First Published - May 13, 2014
Inspired by producer Graciano Cruz’s innovative methods and passion for coffee, Dave Jameson entered the 2014 Coffee in Good Spirits competition with only weeks to spare, and found that coffee and booze is more of a challenge than it sounds
Taking the taste test
I booked some time at Union Hand-Roasted Coffee’s roastery to do some recipe development of my Basil Grande and Orange Custard Martini concepts, and brewed up. Both drinks were really good! The Basil Grande possibly rather superior in terms of refinement, craft and skill of production, but the Orange Custard Martini tasted sumptuous and sticky with a glorious texture and the flavour of distilled Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Ultimately though it came down to fitting it into an eight minute routine. I knew I had to do aeropress to deliver my Irish Coffee, and I can’t think of any way I could brew four Aeropresses in eight minutes, so I picked the Orange Custard Martini.
Good mates and good spirits
We had a meeting a couple of weeks before the competition where we had the chance to meet some of the other competitors and chat to Gordon Howell, who was the 2013 Champion. This was a really fun night, not just because of the free booze, but because it was an opportunity to connect with the other competitors, who are some of the people I respect most in the coffee industry. I left feeling fairly confident that my preparation was going well, but a little overawed by my competitors.
The support I received preparing for this in work was outstanding, from the account managers – Matt Ho, Matt Kennedy, Tom Handiside, to the trainers – Arianna Pozzan, Freddie Gilbert and Dumo Mathema to the managing directors, Jeremy and Steven and the Quality Control Manager – Oli Brown – everyone mucked in to help me out and give me suggestions about how it could be improved and offer me guidance on flavour notes and how it would play with the judges.
I set up my equipment and went for a run-through. My time was sixteen minutes with a week to go before the competition. Disaster.
This was a major issue – for every two seconds over time you finish, you are docked a point, and after a minute over time you are disqualified. I had already seen one of the competitors I would face in this competition disqualified in the UKBC for running a minute and three seconds over, to double the competition time would be catastrophic. I was faced with the very real possibility of competing and embarrassing myself.
I took the weekend to think about what to do, and came back focussed and ready – I booked two days to practice and do nothing but practise. My next run through was ten minutes, and the one after that was seven and a half. I kept on practising again and again, growing in confidence until I was satisfied that I would be able to get on stage, perform and not humiliate myself.
Here are my final recipes that I decided to use for the competition.
Orange Custard Martini:
60ml Warninks Advocaat
25ml Grand Marnier
Double ristretto (Los Lajones, Panama Microlot) (23grams finely ground coffee, delivering 45ml in 28 seconds)
1 teaspoon chocolate flakes (Madagascar 70% – Kokoa Collection)
Add all ingredients to a shaker glass, fill with ice, cap off and shake until the steel shows condensation. Double Strain into a martini glass, garnish with an Orange zest twist and chocolate flakes.
Tastes like Terry’s Chocolate Orange – made of silk.
8g natural caster sugar
160ml brewed coffee:
Aeropress, invert method. Poisition plunger halfway between 3 and 4.
19g coffee reasonably finely ground
50g water, stir for 15 seconds until all the grinds are wet
Top up to 180g leave for 30 seconds, cap off with filter, invert, plunge.
20ml Dalmore 15 year old
Top with spiked cream
200ml double cream, 10ml dalmore, 5g sugar
Add to small kilner bottle
Shake until thickened but still mobile
Pour over the back of a bar spoon onto the coffee to produce a pure, white clearly defined layer on top of the coffee.
Tastes like mince pies and brandy butter in front of a hot fire, wearing a jumper with a reindeer on it, whilst watching Morecambe and Wise.
Next time, read all about the big day and see how Dave got on…