The 2015 coffee competitions calendar has one major set of events left on the docket: World of Coffee Gothenburg, SCAE's annual major European coffee trade show happening June 16th-18th. This year, SCAE's show will play host to the world championships for the Brewers Cup, Latte Art, Cup Tasters, Coffee Roasting and Coffee In Good Spirits championships, a cavalcade of events under the same banner as the World Barista Championship, and presented by our friends & partners at World Coffee Events.
Each one of these events is its own special little snowflake, but the Coffee In Good Spirits competition has gained some considerable momentum in recent years. The CIGS format combines coffee and alcohol in a variety of forms, and includes sponsorship from international spirits brands like Grand Marnier and Jameson. Excitement feels high for this year's edition, particularly following Australian champion Matt Perger's world win at last year's event. We expect a hotly competitive tournament in Gothenburg, with several big names in the running to win the 2015 edition of Coffee In Good Spirits.
One of those is Sang Ho Park, already a household name at the top end of London's coffee scene. As the respected Head of Roasting and Quality at Square Mile Coffee, Park's interest in coffee competitions have already led to one national championship, winning the UK Brewers Cup competition in 2013. This year, he's won the United Kingdom's national Coffee In Good Spirits event, and will represent the UK at the 2015 world championships in Gothenburg. We sat down digitally with Sang Ho Park to learn more about his winning drink recipes, and to hear his thoughts on the Coffee In Good Spirits format.
Congratulations on winning the UK Coffee In Good Spirits! Tell us the name of your drink.
There isn’t one, but if I had to name it, it would be “COLLABO”.
What was the inspiration for this drink? Is it based on a classic cocktail?
No, not at all. I wanted to stay away from doing a twist on a classic cocktails recipe. Instead, my goal was to highlight the flavours I got from the coffee.
The whole idea behind the routine was re-involving the farmer. All too often in coffee competitions, their hard work is summarised by technical descriptions given to them by an exporter as a PDF file. So when my good friend Jorge Raul Rivera, farmer of Finca Santa Rosa in El Salvador flew into London, I wanted Jorge to build the drinks recipe with me, tasting varieties of spirits and liqueurs. So Jorge’s work didn’t end at origin, but had massive impact to the end product, which was the drinks.
That is remarkable. Please, give us the recipes for your winning drinks, developed alongside Jorge Paul Rivera.
Here's the recipe for my required Irish coffee:
Bushmills Irish Whiskey 10yr — 25g
Espresso (filtered to remove crema) — 50g
Brown sugar syrup — 15g
Hot water — 105g
Double cream from Northiam Dairy.
And here's the recipe for my original hot signature drink:
Espresso — 25g
Rum syrup — 10g
Chaff tea — 5g
What do you think of the CIGS format? Was it fun working within these constraints? Were there decisions you had to alter to play by the rules?
I really like the format, as you are free to brew anything from espresso to filter coffee, and use alcohol. To me this is a mash up of the Brewers Cup, Barista Championships, and the World Class Cocktail competition. I really think this competition is overlooked, and I believe it has way more potential than how people currently look at it. Before I actually competed in Coffee In Good Spirits, I was in the skeptical group too; but when I started to look deeper and look back on what I’ve learnt so far, it has been a steep learning curve. I’ve learnt that you need a completely differently roast profile to mix espresso with alcohol, let's say, compared to roasting for espresso on its own or with milk. Furthermore, you need to play with different brew ratios, too. Personally, it has been such a rewarding experience as a whole.
Do you have anything special planned for Gothenburg?
I do have few things tucked under my sleeves. You’ll just have to wait till then!
Catch Sang Ho Park's bid to become the World Coffee In Good Spirits champion at the 2015 World Of Coffee Gothenburg event, hosted by the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe and World Coffee Events.