Brewers Cup 2019 - Stephen Houston
With the World Brewer's Cup 2019 just around the corner (hosted at the Boston Specialty Coffee Expo), we've asked the finalists a few questions. Up next is Stephen Houston from Ireland.
How did you get your start in the coffee industry?
I began in coffee just under 5 years ago, I actually hadn't worked in coffee at all before applying for a roastery assistant job with Bailies coffee, fell in love with the industry, understood and believed in the company very quickly and have worked super hard to get to where I am today - the head Roaster for Bailies.
If you did not work in coffee, what other industry interests you?
I came from a background of customer service, between call centers and clothing retail, but also did some work as a stencil artist, so probably either of them!
What was your journey leading to the WBrC in Boston?
Well this was 4th time competing in the Irish brewers cup and the 2nd time I've got to the worlds. The journey has had it's ups and downs but I have learnt so much along the way.
It's given me confidence, made me a better coffee roaster and brewer and I feel gives a good representation of what we do as a company. Since winning in January, I have been lucky enough to secure an amazing coffee in good time and have been getting to play with the roast profile and really hone in my brewing skills and my presentation. Having been to the world competition before (2017 in Budapest) I have at least a better idea of what to expect on the world level, still full of nerves and excitement though!
What coffee will you be using at the WBrC in Boston and why?
I am using a Anaerobic Natural from Costa Rica, the farm is called La Ortiga and has been processed by the legendary Cafe De Altura San Ramon.
I had used a similar coffee to get to the world stage, I loved the flavor profiles from these coffees so wanted to use something new, fresh and even better quality.
What brew method will you be using at the WBrC in Boston and why?
I will be using a ceramic Kalita Wave 155, using a smaller recipe ratio. I use the Kalitas really because they are just my favourite brewer, love their design, simplicity and find consistently better brews from them.
Are there any things you’re excited to see or do in Boston (other than the Championship of course)?
Well I've never been before, so hoping I will get to see some of the sights. I love visiting good food and wines, as well as coffee shops (obviously!), so hopefully plenty of them. Also looking forward to seeing an SCA Expo for the first time