Why Australian Brewers Cup Champion Carlos Escobar Chose the Origami Dripper

If you’re reading this, then you probably already know that Carlos Escobar, the National Sales Manager for Toby’s Estate who cut his teeth at Campos, managed to clinch an amazing win during the 2021 ASCA STTOKE Brewers Cup Competition. Carlos, who was raised in Colombia and whose parents are former coffee farmers, broke the Ona stronghold. Huge.

We had the privilege of sponsoring Carlos’ Origami cups, which are shaped in a manner that captures and retains the coffee’s aroma. Carlos also used the Origami dripper, which ECRE is proud to distribute.

So why, from all the brewers on the market, did Carlos choose the Origami? We were itching to know, so of course, we asked him:

So, Carlos, why did you choose the Origami brewer?

If you ask my why I chose Origami, the main reason is because I struggled to find a dripper that could fit either a conical or flat bed filter. That was the first thing that interested me. The reason is that when you’re dialing in coffees for a comp, you want to be able to compare the coffee across different brewing methods, paper filters, water profiles, etc. It is very time consuming to keep swapping between brewers, but what I found with Origami is that I saved time because I didn’t need to set up, clean and cycle through lots of equipment. Instead, I just had one dripper with different paper filters. With just that, I could see how it behaved in both a conical and flat bed paper filter.

The Origami, with its big hole at the bottom, fits a Kalita 185 paper filter perfectly. I think that the paper fits even better than in the Kalita dripper. In the Kalita, the paper moves around and is not stable. But in the Kalita, the origami grooves fits the folds of the Kalita 185 paper perfectly.

After playing around, I found that the flat bed filters were more consistent and more forgiving. With the conical filters you get lots of variation in the bypass [the amount of water that passes directly from the paper into the cup, as opposed to percolating through the coffee bed]. With the flat bed filter, you can get the water to touch most of the coffee bed. That is the main reason I was set on Origami.

Can you tell us more about your brewing strategy? What was your thought process?

One of the aspects I really want to work out was how to maximise the extraction rate in filter coffee, which led me to play a lot with blooming time. I started with the traditional bloom of 30 seconds, then I tried extending it to 35 seconds, 40, 45, 60, 65, even 80 seconds. I was seeing that I was extracting more but not getting over-extracted flavours. I saw that I could go up to 90 seconds without over-extracting.

I also had to pay attention the number of pours. In competition, one thing they assess is workflow, so the easier it is for you to replicate, the better. So I ended up playing with both brewing time and number of pours. You can train for a technique with 3 or 4 pours and be very precise, but you never know what will happen on stage. You can get distracted, you can get stressed, but you only get one go. So I wanted to pick a brewing recipe that is as easy to replicate as possible, and with the fewest number of pours as possible. That way, there is very little room for error as possible and the judges will not judge me negatively on workflow.

What did your winning recipe end up being?

I ended up with a very simple brew: 14 grams of coffee and two 100ml pours, with a gap of 1 min 30s in between (water temp just below 90 degrees C).

What was your extraction percentage / TDS?

I wasn’t paying much attention to extraction percentage, just TDS. With my coffee, all the attributes that I wanted were at about 1.13 to 1.2 TDS. The moment I extracted more, I was getting all the attributes of the coffee that I didn’t want: cacao nibs, dark chocolate finish.

Wow, so your extraction percentage would have been quite low–around 15 percent!

That’s about right, yes. But in all my tests I just focused on flavour and TDS. The coffee I used was super complex and quite difficult to extract. Depending on how you brew it, you can get totally different spectrums of flavours. It can express the red fruit spectrum: berries, cherries. It can be all floral without fruits, and it can also be lean heavily into chocolate and caramels.

I wanted to stay in the red fruit spectrum with a little bit of floral. That’s why I had a technique that extracted it very lightly. You can extract more, but when you do, you change the expression of the coffee. The Origami brewer was great at letting me adapt my technique to what I wanted to achieve. It looks like it worked because it was the highest scoring coffee in open service and the highest coffee in all attributes.

Can you tell me about more about the coffee itself?

It was a coffee from Colombia, from the Cauca region, from a farm called El Paraiso. It’s a relatively new farm that was started in 2008. It’s owned by an agronomist who had plenty of ideas who to improve quality, and then bought a farm in order to test them. He even created his own drying machine.

The coffee is of the Gesha variety; a washed processed with a double anaerobic fermentation as well a technique developed by the farmer called “thermo shock”.

How does that work?

The coffee was first fermented in the cherry, then fermented again with mucilage only, then it was washed twice. It is first washed with quite hot water that’s over 40 degrees in order to open the pores of the coffee and to get the juices from the fermentation tank into the bean. After that, it’s washed with cold water in order to seal the flavour in.

The result was amazing. It had the floral aspects of the Gesha variety, the sweetness and tactile of a natural processed coffee, and the high acidity and clean cup of a washed processed coffee. It’s a super crazy coffee that’s crazy to roast and crazy to brew, because on each roast and brew it can express a completely different profile. But when you get it where you want it’s absolutely amazing.

What would you recommend as a recipe for someone brewing at home?”

I believe that people over-complicate brewing coffee. One of the thing I have always pushed for is simplifying brewing. I believe my competition recipe is a perfect example for this. This method is great for heavily processed coffees that are very soluble. If you have a washed plain coffee, then I’d opt for same recipes but with four pours and 93–96 degree coffee.

If you’re keen to get your hands on an Origami dripper, look no further.

Written by Tuli Keidar

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ECRE. Co-roasting, coffee academy, store, and events. 👉🏻 Sydney, Australia. http://ecre.coffee

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ECRE

ECRE

ECRE. Co-roasting, coffee academy, store, and events. 👉🏻 Sydney, Australia. http://ecre.coffee

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