Headline Sponsor: Genio Roasters

Prelim Round Coffee and Venue Sponsor: Sevenoaks Trading

Finals Round Coffee Sponsor: Specialty Coffee Exchange

Brewing equipment partner: Equipment Cafe

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A Shot in the Dark 2020: 10th, 9th & 8th Places

Monday, 27 July, 2020

In the times of COVID-19 we had to get creative with how we presented the Top 10 which would normally have happened at Creative Coffee Week!

This format meant that we could chat to the amazing judges and sponsors that pulled off this world class competition as well as get to know the roasters.

Day One we spoke to Matt Carter, one of our esteemed Judges, the espresso queen, Tintswalo 'Tiny' Tshabalala who pulled the espresso shots according to the roasters specifications and Sinjon Wicks of Equipment Cafe who educated us on the beautiful Mahlkonig E65 grinder used in the competition.

Then we began the countdown of the positions in the Top 10!

8th Place: Truth Coffee - Oliver Rollinson

How long have you been roasting coffee and how did you get into it?

I've been roasting since 2016. I really got into coffee roasting when I visited Vancouver. I took myself on a tour of over 80 of the city's coffee shops and was amazed by the quality and diversity of the coffee. I realised that almost 50% of coffee shops were roasting their own beans, so the coffee was always fresh and exciting. I then took a trip to Guatemala and did my first roasting course in Antigua and haven't looked back since.

Why did you enter A Shot in the Dark?

I'd always wanted to test my skills as a roaster and so when the opportunity to take part in a roasting competition I jumped at the chance.

What was it like to work with small quantities of these delicious coffees?

I love working with small quantities of coffee, although clearly there is always a challenge as you are limited with the number of roasts you can do!

What was your biggest challenge and biggest lesson from this process?

A couple of challenges I experienced. Firstly it was the first time for me working on the 6kg Genio roaster. Although it's fairly intuitive I have always found that each roaster has it's own personality and takes a little while to get used to. Secondly, knowing you have limited coffee to perfect your roast. Deciding on the right batch size and deciding what aspects of the roast to tweak, in order to optimize the roast was a challenge

9th Place: Gansbaai Coffee Co. - Henk van Zyl

How long have you been roasting coffee and how did you get into it? 

I have always found coffee interesting, I took up roasting , as a hobby,  six years ago and am happy to inform that the interest has turned into a slightly unhealthy obsession. 

Why did you enter A Shot in the Dark?

Competition has a fabulous way of enabling growth. Its not something that is easy to measure, but I relish in the opportunity to learn and expand my knowledge. 

What was it like to work with small quantities of these delicious coffees?

Very stressful! Working with these great coffees makes it easier. 

What was your biggest challenge and biggest lesson from this process?

Working with lovingly produced , quality coffees , trying to get the full potential, to what makes these coffees so special ..getting that right. The biggest lesson learned was to trust my palate a bit more and willingness to always be open to learn. 

10th Place: Scuro Coffee Crafts - Dwain Fiorita 

Name of Roaster: 

6kg Scuro Coffee Roaster. Coffee roasted by Dwain Fiorita.

How long have you been roasting coffee and how did you get into it?

I have been roasting for approximately 2 years. In 2016 we tasted FRESH coffee for the first time at a roastery in Johannesburg and was hooked. We started experimenting with home roasting in different ways until we came to a point where we designed and built our very own 6kg roaster.

Why did you enter A Shot in the Dark?

To test our "roast-ability" of the machines we manufacture and for marketing purposes.

What was it like to work with small quantities of these delicious coffees?

It was difficult for me because we do not have a sample roaster and I had to do all my sample roasting of 500g each on my 6kg coffee roaster. I roasted a total of 39 times for the entire competition to produce the best coffee I could and I wanted to stretch the coffee as far as possible.

I learned a lot through roasting these coffees because I have never roasted these coffees before. What an experience!

What was your biggest challenge and biggest lesson from this process?

The biggest challenge was the espresso blend. To blend three coffees and to get the correct balance was a challenge. And for us not having an espresso machine made the challenge even more challenging. But we had some great help.

The biggest lesson was that there is always more potential in coffee even if you think you've nailed it. And how to blend three coffees.

Headline Sponsor: Genio Roasters

Prelim Round Coffee and Venue Sponsor: Sevenoaks Trading

Finals Round Coffee Sponsor: Specialty Coffee Exchange

Brewing equipment partner: Equipment Cafe

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