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Jo Lopez competed in the 2022 Brewers Cup Championship and finished the competition as a Finalist. Brewed by Hand caught up with Jo following his performance in the competition to learn more about his career in coffee and his go-to competition kit. We were fascinated by his approach to experimenting with different techniques, testing a recipe’s brewer, grinder, or water.
Continue reading to learn the technical details on how Jo Lopez advances his career in coffee and prepares for compete.
How do you go about testing your techniques?
I always have about 40 kilos of coffee at home from different roasters, and I’ll try the most different ones on the same brewer.
I always say this, but you can always contact a roaster and they will be happy to help. You don’t need fresh, amazing new coffee to train. I train with cheap coffee and it’s sometimes better! I used to go and get coffee from Sainsbury to train for coffee masters because I thought “if I can make this taste good, then easy”. Just get cheap coffee and make it taste good and at some point, you’ll be able to detect if that coffee got potential or not just by eating a bean.
That’s what happened with the coffee I used for Brewer’s cup. I literally smelled the coffee, ate a bean, and thought, “This has got so much potential”. It’s very revealing, you can taste the flavour and the freshness. They told me in the shop, at Intermission, that they brewed it once and it was super bitter. I ate a bean and immediately what I got was a punch of flavour, followed by dreadful bitterness. So, I thought, “Okay, obviously when it first touches your tongue it’s amazing, but if you expose it to fluids for too long, it gets bitter.” So, I just need to do it very close and the water to pass very fast through it, which is why I chose the technique I did. Which is like quite coarse, needs no bypass through, and water wouldn’t stay longer than 20 seconds each pour. In the first two pours, I just want coffee to release Co2, and then on the third I want to extract. The way that Rob Clarijs from ‘A Matter of Concrete’ group roasted the coffee, he said that was the perfect brew for that coffee. But I do that with pretty much every coffee, I push it to the limit. There’s no such thing as espresso roast or filtered roast, it’s how you use it.
The UK AeroPress Champion was one of the judges, and he was very impressed by the way I used the AeroPress with an insane amount of coffee, like 30 grams to 200ml and the temperature was like 87°C. So, a very slow extraction and a super-fast brew, it was like a total brew time of 2 minutes.
It’s all technicalities, but basically once the temperature goes from 94° to 92° to 97°, it’s great, coffee will taste amazing. If you go to 91°, 89°, it will taste bad because you need more coffee in there, and if you drop the temperature a bit more, it will again taste great. It doesn’t taste great all the while; it tastes great at some temperatures and really bad at some others. I’ve been experimenting with room temperature brewing, and actually got really nice results.
I did that brew for the Coffee Master’s, I found that cold brew with a hot bloom tasted way better. So, you bloom the coffee for like 30 to 45 minutes, whatever the coffee needs and then pour the cold water when the coffee is already extracted. It’s like a sear on a steak and then slow cook it. This is what I do in my time off!
I’ve got about ten notebooks. It’s important to give notes on what you do good and what you don’t. Especially on what you don’t because you don’t want to repeat them. It’s good to have the equipment obviously.
Follow Jo Lopez on Instagram: @link_is_not_the_princess
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