The Brewers Cup competition is a manual coffee brewing competition that promotes craftsmanship in coffee brewing and coffee service. This competition includes two parts. The first part is compulsory service in which everyone uses the same coffee, grinder, and water. The second part, which more people are familiar with, is open service. This part gives you 10 minutes to showcase your coffee, brewing, and service to the judge. The top 6 competitors combined scores move to the final round, and the compulsory score is kept for the final round but the open service score reset. The combined final round open service score and compulsory score determine the placement.
Who is Ply Pasarj?
Ply Pasarj, the 5th place in WBrc 2021, is the co-owner of Rogue Wave Coffee. He was a customer at Rogue Wave Coffee but after about 2 years of being a regular customer, he was invited to join them.
I feel very fortunate that both David Laville and David Walsh invited me into this crazy coffee industry. - Ply Pasarj
Why did Ply Pasarj decide to compete in the Brewer Cup Competition?
Before joining the coffee industry, Ply Pasarj has been being a manual brewing coffee lover who spent time experimenting and exploring many methods. His first ever brewers cup competition was in early 2019, and he was pushed by my barista, Sheh, to compete because she thought Ply Pasarj would do well. He was around 4 months into working in coffee full time then. He placed 6th in the Canada Brewers cup competition. The whole experience made him fall in love with the coffee competition.
The WBrC 2021 in Milano
1. What kind of coffee did Ply Pasarj choose for the competition and why?
For this year's competition, Ply Pasarj broke out from the norm by doing a blend of two beautiful gesha from Panama. One coffee is from Abu Coffee, a 144 hours anaerobic slow dry natural, and the other coffee is a washed gesha from Finca Carmen Estate Coffee. Ply combined 8.5g of the natural gesha with 4g of the washed gesha to give a vibrant citrus acidity, tropical fruit sweetness, balanced floral, and a soft lingering finish. While both of these coffees by themselves are capable of being on the world stage, Ply had a specific flavour profile in mind and was only able to get by blending. It took him a very long time to finalize his coffee, and in fact, Ply did not finalize his decision until a couple of days before the competition.
2. What kinds of equipment did Ply use in the competition?
I was very fortunate to be able to debut the plastic Origami dripper at the competition, and also my recipe works really well with the plastic origami dripper as well since I use lower temperature water. - Ply Pasarj.
Here is the list of equipment:
- Scale: Ghost Scale
- Grinder: 1ZPRESSO - K-Plus
- Water: Osonero (a cafe in Milan) + Aquacode
- Server Cup: Origami Pinot Flavour Cup
- Filter: Kalita Wave 155
- Kettle: 2x Brewista Electric kettle (borrowed from Garum Um of Brazil Champion)
3. What is the most challenging part of the whole process?
Choosing coffee to use was the most challenging for him. The timing was not great and they were all not sure if the event will be postponed again or not due to the pandemic. Sourcing coffee was hard in itself. Ply Pasarj personally thinks himself is also not great about making decisions, there are just so many good coffees out there.
4. What is the most impressive moment in such a world stage event?
When I was called for the last spot in the top 6. It was so surreal. Everyone was so nervous, who the last spot would be, and being called that person was really surreal. I still get goosebump thinking about that moment. I am really proud of myself.- Ply Pasarj.
5. After winning 5th place in the brewer cup competition, what would be Ply Pasarj's next step?
I love competing and being on stage as nervous as it is. It is my way of pushing myself to learn more about coffee. In addition, meeting new and amazing people at coffee competitions is something I look forward to every time. I hope to compete in this year's Canada Cup Taster, Barista competition, and Coffee in Good Spirit. As for the Brewers cup... we will see haha. - Ply Pasarj.
Beyond the competition
1. Anything interesting while Ply Pasarj stays in Milan?
I find it very interesting that most stores close between 12:30-2:30 pm so that their staff can take a long lunch. I would love this culture in Canada. I also love the gelatos there. I ate gelato twice a day when I was in Milan. - Ply Pasarj
2. How do Ply Pasarj feel about Milan and its coffee culture?
I think for the most part Milan coffee culture is still the traditional single shot espresso with Arabica and Robusta blend. I love it for the experience but it would be hard to have that every day. It was fascinating to see that pretty much all the restaurants have a two or three-group espresso machine. As a filter coffee lover myself, there isn't a lot of choice for single-origin filter coffees but I see that it is growing. I would love to be back in Milan in a year to see how things would have changed. - Ply Pasarj
Insight into the coffee market
1. How bad do Ply Pasarj think COVID-19 influences the coffee market in Canada or even the overall coffee market worldwide?
COVID-19 has definitely changed the market. During the peak of COVID, many people started brewing coffee at home, and therefore home equipment was a hot item. Now that many people still work from home, the demand for retail coffee bags remains high. As people learn to brew coffee at home, they also learn to appreciate the art of coffee making and some also seek after interesting and rare coffee. So now we are seeing this increase in demand for more expensive coffee alongside regular coffee for home brewing. The big impact we see was on many of the cafes, as coffee drink sales plummeted during lockdown. Some of our clients even had to close their business. Currently, we are seeing the impact of high freight cost, long wait time, and high demand which ultimately impact the price of the end products for consumers.- Ply Pasarj
2. Lots of cafes were closed due to the impact of COVID-19, what do Pla Pasarj think are the key points that Rogue wave coffee survive and did a good job to get through it?
We are very fortunate to be a roasting company. As demand for wholesale coffee goes down, we saw an increased demand for retail coffees. I implement a local coffee and gear delivery system for our business in the first week of our lockdown which allows us to get coffee to our customers right away and keep our business afloat. I start doing weekly Live with Ply, almost every Sunday morning to allow anyone to ask and learn about home brewing. We were also very fortunate to be distributing many of the coffee gear such as Origami and 1ZPRESSO, so while there are supply chain issues, we were able to fulfill many of our retail and wholesale customer demand. We also start to deal directly with producers and work closer to import partners to ensure that we are still able to get high-quality coffee. We were also able to expand our exports into the Middle East and into Asia and started to do worldwide shipping which really helped us survive the pandemic.- Ply Pasarj
You might wonder which kind of coffee bean containers be used at Rogue Wave Coffee for keeping their coffee fresh, check the link below to find it out.