Danish Roasting Champion 2020: Ante Bikic from Amokka Coffee Roasters
The story of a coffee enthusiast turned champion
Amokka Coffee Roaster Ante Bikic did something amazing this last Sunday (27th), where he won the Danish Roasting Championships. He had been wanting to compete for a long time, but due to rules about residency in the country that you compete, you have to have stayed in Denmark for at least two years. This was ultimately the first year that he could compete.
Ante originally came to Denmark to pursue his passion for coffee, which he couldn’t fully explore in his home country of Croatia. He previously worked for the Noma group, where he was head of coffee at one of their restaurants, called Bar.
He has judged for the SCA on many occasions, including brewers cup (black coffee brewing) and is skilled and trained at sensory and tasting.
Fast forward to the event of last week; Ante had signed up for this year’s edition of the roasting championships. He had little time to prepare since the SCA had moved the dates several times, because of COVID-19.
It made it difficult for Ante to know when and if it would be held and plan access to a Loring, relatively close to competition weekend.
A deciding factor was also the birth of his firstborn, a daughter, who was planning on arriving any day.
The event would take place at the importer for a roasting machine manufacturer called Loring, incidentally also the home turf for the two main competitors from the renowned local companies April Coffee and Prolog Coffee. Both of them have their home-courts at this particular location, as the importer rents out the machine for smaller companies.
Both Rasmus and Nobu from the two companies, know the Loring very well as a result and have trained fiercely. Ante had only had the chance to do so once, with six roasts under his belt, making the achievement even more impressive.
“I’m super proud and happy. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do”
The way the roasting championships work is that the contestants turn up without knowing the coffees. The judges give them the same selection of beans, roasting both a single and a blend. This year it was a Mexican coffee as the single and a selection of Brazil (Natural), Honduras (Honey Processed) and a Costa Rica (Honey Processed).
Then each gets 45 minutes to quickly sample roast each coffee on an Ikawa (luckily, we have such a machine in the roastery), only roasting around 50 grams of each.
They will then from that roast session, have to determine the qualities of them and how they behave. Next, they have to make a detailed roast plan for what they want to do the following day.
The plan is then submitted, including the details such as the total roast time, drop in temp, final temp and final roast colour, as well as decide the ratio of the blend. Ante went with a 45% Brazil, 45% Honduras and 10% Costa Rica blend. It later showed to be a great choice, with each contestant choosing a different blend ratio.
Saturday was the big day, where the roasting was to take place. Ante had drawn the unlucky straw, having to start, which is seen as a disadvantage because the roaster is cold.
As a result, he had to drop a “dummy” batch, to begin with, ensuring he had primed the machine before the real roasts.
The judges and organizers have on purpose placed ten defects into the coffee batches given to each contestant, for them to find. There are different strategies applied to this problem; some spend a lot of time sorting before the roast, and some choose to do so before handing it in.
Ante ended up nailing both roasts, making only a small tactical error on one of them. They can do as many roasts as their 16 kg limit of greens and 1,5-hour time limit allows.
The contestant has to submit 1,5 kg of each of the two types of roasts.
“It was very unexpected that i could beat three such experienced contestants, two of which have both won and competed on the world scene”
On the final day, the judges cup all of the submitted roasts, blind, and score them, blind.
Ante ended up scoring the highest in the blind cupping, which was a profound achievement in itself.
Added to the cupping scores are also the scores achieved, by meeting the goals set in the roast plan. In a rather complicated scoring scheme, points are deducted, for how far away you are from your set goals in your roast plan, with the maximum score of each area being 6 points.
He eventually won with 484,25 points, with a 6 point lead to number two (Nobu – winner, 2018) and 18 points to number 3 (Rasmus – last years winner).
Ante deserves recognition for this and so, I hope you will help me in congratulating him. We will be sending out more info later, in preparation for the World Series. Also, we will be adding a new “Amokka” section here on the Partner Site, updating you more frequently on what goes on in the roastery.