Local specialty coffee roaster Tinker Coffee Co. and local restaurant Garden Tablehave been selected to compete in the2017 Coffee Mixologist Competition at the Amsterdam Coffee Festival on March 10th, 2017. You can read more details about the event in the press releasehere.

I had a moment to ask one of the drink co-creators, Tinker Coffee Co’s Steve Hall, about how this all got started.

Rachel: What prompted you to enter the 2017 Amsterdam Coffee Festival?

Steve: Like any good coffee professional I readSprudge religiously, and when they made an announcement in January about the Coffee Mixologist competition happening at the Amsterdam Coffee Festival I was immediately intrigued. There was a similar competition last year at the Coffee Masters events in in New York and London that I followed pretty closely, and I knew I was going to do everything in my power to get a cocktail entered in this year’s competition … it just looked like too much fun to pass up and a fun way to push the boundaries of flavor pairings with coffee.

Rachel: How did you and Garden Table bartender Mike Schrader, the drinks other co-creator, come together to do this? How do you know each other?

Steve: Mike and I have been friends for a few years now, and I actually worked with Mike’s brother Nate in my pre-coffee life. I knew Mike would bring an interesting perspective to the competition because he’s worked in both coffee and spirits … He was previously a barista at Calvin Fletcher’s and has also worked at Hotel Tango and Open Society. He’s got a really well rounded understanding of how to build flavor complexity and I’m really glad we had the chance to collaborate on this drink.

Rachel: What went into the selection process for you to be part of this competition? How many other submissions were there?

Steve: The first piece was obviously to develop the recipe for the drink. I knew I wanted to do something with a cold brew concentrate, since you’re able to really push the extraction of the coffee and make sure you retain the complexity of the flavor profile after the coffee has been mixed with syrups, spirits, and everything else in the drink. Using Finca Los Pinos was another deliberate choice because the coffee has a richly sweet and dense fruit-forward profile, which we thought would add another layer of complexity to the drink.

After dialing in our coffee recipe, I passed along cold brew concentrate samples to Mike so that he could experiment a bit. Once he got his recipe nailed down, we were required to submit a video of the construction of the drink and the recipe (both are available on our blog). It was fun putting the video together … I’m no videographer, but it was fun messing around in iMovie to try and put something respectable together 🙂

I’m not sure how many other submissions there were, but this was a global contest and 16 teams were selected to travel to Amsterdam for the finals.

Rachel: Why the cocktail name “Lord Byron”?

Steve: The coffee we used in the drink is a naturally processed Nicaraguan coffee from Byron Corrales of Finca Los Pinos. We’ve known Byron and his family for a few years now, and this is our only pure Direct Trade coffee. We thought naming the drink “Lord Byron” would be a nice tribute to the hard work Byron and his family put into the coffee production on their farm, and maybe score us a few points from the poetry fans. We actually thought about naming the drink after some obscure Lord Byron poem, but that seemed a little over the top.

Rachel: Can customers expect to drink this cocktail at the Garden Table?

Steve: We’re working on the details of getting the cold brew concentrate to Garden Table at the moment, but once we get that all figured out I’m sure the drink will hit the menu. Maybe in the next week or so.

Rachel: What are you most looking forward to at the event in Amsterdam?

Steve: I’m really most excited to immerse myself in the Dutch and European coffee culture for a few days … to learn a bit more about their approach to things like espresso and service, learn more about the styles of coffee they’re brewing and roasting, and just get a whole new perspective on the coffee industry. It should be a really interesting experience!

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