A thunderclap of punches. A flurry of delivered blows, each more bruising than the next. Mere words do not do justice to the gustatory fisticuffs adjourned last weekend at the Big Central Brewers Cup. Competitors from throughout the great midwestern states of America fought hand to hand in the squared circle – literally, in a boxing ring – before finally, one of them could be declared champion for his or her region. In the South Central region, that champion was Lorenzo Perkins, representing Cuvee Coffee out of Austin, Texas. Mr. Perkins – a proud Texan, beleaguered Cowboys fan, and Barista Guild of America Executive Council member – spoke to Sprudge in the aftermath of his glorious victory.
Lorenzo, you just won the Brewers Cup. What are you going to do next?
Get back to work! Taking time off to travel to Minneapolis, and Barista Camp the week before, I’ve got some catching up to do. Right now, we are working on revamping our wholesale training curriculum as well as getting ready to open our first full retail café. Plus all of the fun BGA stuff that I participate in (Camps, TNTs, etc.). Then I’m going to have to find time to get some more practice in. I got really lucky at the regional with how everything turned out because there were some awesome coffees and great brewers, but the USBrC is going to require a significantly bigger chunk of luck and lots more practice.
Which coffee did you compete with at Brewers Cup? Can you tell us a bit more about it?
I used Finca San Jose Ocana from Chimaltenango, Guatemala. It’s a coffee we first bought in 2006 and have had a fairly good relationship with Guillermo Sanchez, the owner of the farm, and Luis Pedro Zeloya, the owner of the mill, since then. At 1900m, 100% red bourbon, and washed, everything is in this coffees favor for quality and in my opinion it solidly delivers that promise.
What brewing method did you employ at the Brewers Cup, and why?
I used the Kalita Wave 185. We only sell two brewing methods, the Clever and the Kalita Wave, so for me it made sense to use one of those methods. The Wave promotes such an even extraction, consistent flow rate, and clarity of flavors that it’s hard not to love it. Plus, I used the Clever in 2011 and wanted to really get to know this method.
What advice do you have for future Brewers Cup competitors?
Brew really tasty coffee. That’s what this competition is all about, and for that matter so is the Barista Competition. Find a coffee that you love, and find a way to brew it that you can really get behind. Also, listening to Rusty Angell’s webinars have been a huge help. That cat knows a ton about brewing and is always ready to share his knowledge.
What would it mean for you to represent the United States at the World Brewers Cup Championship?
Wow, I’m not even sure. The first thing that comes to mind is that it would mean a lot of pressure. Being a representative of the US in a brewing competition, on a world stage, sounds pretty intense. I’d rather just think of it as me, bringing a coffee, and sharing it with some pretty rad people while a bunch of other rad people watch. Which actually sounds kind of weird. Would I get to brew coffee for the people watching? I hope so.
Photos by Charlie Burt for Sprudge.com. Sprudge.com’s coverage at the 2014 Big Central was made possible by Cafe Imports, Wilbur Curtis Co., and Nuova Simonelli. We’re proud to serve as your 2014 official media partners with the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Read all of our 2014 Big Central coverage here!