A huge round of congratulations are in order for your two new Brewers Cup champions! North Central Brewers Cup honors go to Jon Ferguson, of Minneapolis specialty coffee gurus Dogwood Coffee Company. South Central Brewers Cup was won by Jonathan Aldrich, of Austin, Texas multiroasters Houndstooth Coffee. Sprudge.com caught up with Mssrs. Ferguson and Aldrich following their big wins in Kansas City.

Jonathan Aldrich, Houndstooth Coffee, Austin, TX – South Central Brewers Cup champ!


Jonthan Aldrich competed and won his first-ever Brewers Cup title using MADCAP Coffee Company’s San Sebastian, a coffee from the Huila region of Colombia. It’s produced by a small shareholders organization called OCCICAFE, and has been a star on MADCAP’s seasonal offering sheet for three years running.

Mr. Aldrich’s winning routine employed the ABID Clever Dripper (available here via Espresso Parts) and Kalita 103 filters (buy here via Olympia Coffee Roasters). “I think these are absolutely the best filter for the Clever,” Mr. Aldrich told us, and he mentioned that he used a very light water rinse on the paper itself, around 8 ounces. Mr. Aldrich brewed using 21 grams of coffee to 340 milileters of water, which he described as being intentionally “a little weak” to showcase the structure and clarity of flavor in his coffee.

His method involved stirring the coffee 5 times after 100 millileters of 201ºF water, then 5 more times after the rest of the water was poured at the 30 second mark. His total steep time was 2 minutes, followed by a 90 second draw down. In our exit interview, Mr. Aldrich talked up the virtues of brewing with Clever: “I think the Clever is a great way to brew coffee in shops – it’s not a head down, look at the water brewing method. It’s a fairly simple brewing style that frees you up to look at the customer, make eye contact, and have a conservation.” They use the Clever Dripper behind the bar at Houndstooth, where San Sebastian is a staff favorite.

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Mr. Aldrich would like to shout out Sean Henry, the owner at Houndstooth, as well as the rest of the staff at Houndstooth, the folks at MADCAP Coffee Co who brewed and tasted with him all weekend, and all of his friends in the Dallas coffee scene, particularly those involved with TNT DFW. A Texan through and through, pretty much the first thing Mr. Aldrich did upon winning the Brewers Cup was to tweet the hashtag “#TEXASFOREVER”.

Houndstooth is soon to open a second shop Downtown Austin in the next 6-8 weeks (after SXSW), and will be opening a shop in Mr. Aldrich’s home town of Dallas in the next 4-6 months. Congratulations to Jonathan, Houndstooth, and MadCap!

Jon Ferguson, Dogwood Coffee Company, MPLS – North Central Brewers Cup champ!


This is Jon Ferguson’s second consecutive North Central Brewers Cup win, and the first for his work with Dogwood Coffee Company. Mr. Ferguson competed using the Hacienda La Esmeralda Geisha Special, grown in Boquete, Panama by producer (and 2010 Sprudgie Award winner) Rachel Peterson. You can learn more about this small lot of coffee from Panama by checking out Dogwood’s blog, where they’ve got more information on all the coffees used by Dogwood competitors at BCRBC.

Mr. Ferguson also competed using the Clever Dripper, but opted instead for the standard Melitta #4 paper cone filter. His routine called for 18 grams of coffee to 265 grams of 203º-205ºF water, with a brew ratio of 1 : 14.7. Jon stirred down the fines at 1 minute, and released the Clever for draw down at the  1.5 minute mark. His total extraction time was 3.5 minutes.

Particle distribution is important to Mr. Ferguson, and he believes that attention to this detail – alongside the beautiful coffee itself – is a large part of why he found success at Brewers Cup. His goal was to brew coffee grinds targeted between 500 / 850 microns, which he achieved by using a testing sieve to remove smaller particles that could be overextracted, as well as larger particles that could be underextracted. This sifting process occurred during his 5 minutes of prep time, though he did talk the Brewers Cup judges through his method during his 10 minute performance. Mr. Ferguson told us that he considers this method “Extremely accurate and replicable”, and he encourages all future Brewers Cup competitors to look into fines migration and particle size as part of their routine.


Mr. Ferguson’s routine at BCRBC was well-researched, and he cited the work of Modern Process Equipment in Chicago as being highly influential to his approach. Jon Ferguson is one of the most technical-minded and detail-oriented coffee people we’ve ever met, so when he shouts out the work of others, take heed.

Congratulations to Jon, Jonathan, Dogwood, MADCAP, Houndstooth, and the state of Texas! We’ll see you at the national finals of the Brewers Cup, this April in Boston.

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