All photos c/o Taylor Murphy-Dyer of FairWave Coffee Collective.

On September 29 – October 1, 2023, Messenger Coffee hosted the Brewers Cup Preliminary Competition, an event that helped kick off the 2024 US Coffee Championship season. Competitors took the stage to put their brewing skills to the test, vying for one of four reserved spots at a CoffeeChamps Qualifying Competition. We were also excited to have the Enthusiast Coffee Brewer be used as the trusted gear for calibration and our sister brand's Brewista Artisan Gooseneck Kettles for competition.

We caught up with Taylor Murphy-Dyer, Director of Education at FairWave Specialty Coffee Collective, who helped organize the Brewers Cup Preliminary Competition as she shares what the competition entails, what is calibration, and what they look for in choosing an electric brewer for competition calibration.

Brewista Artisan Gooseneck Kettles are sitting atop a wooden table to be used for Brewers Cup Competition.

Pictured: Our sister brand's Brewista Artisan Gooseneck Kettles being used for competition.

Bonavita: What is Brewers Cup and what does the competition entail?

Murphy-Dyer: Brewers Cup is, quite literally, how well can you brew a cup of coffee and how much do you understand about the variables that can affect the way a coffee tastes. At the preliminary level, competitors choose between two coffees in a blind tasting. They aren’t given any information about the coffee they chose until after their decision. Then they must brew that coffee to the best of their ability, manipulating the variables that they can using their knowledge of coffee extraction, and describe the way the coffee tastes accurately. 

A competitor is brewing coffee at Brewers Cup Preliminary Competition.

Pictured: A competitor is brewing coffee at Brewers Cup Preliminary Competition.

Bonavita: For Brewers Cup, we hear a lot about competition calibration. What does calibration mean, and why does it matter?

Murphy-Dyer: Calibration is when judges train and calibrate their pallets to each other. Taste is truly subjective, so in order to judge a competition based on taste fairly, we must calibrate to one another. We must have the understanding that if a coffee tastes this way, then it will receive this score and this is the reason why. 

If we do not calibrate, then we cannot guarantee that a coffee was judged fairly, accurately, or unbiasedly. 

Bonavita: What are the benefits of using an electric brewer for Brewers Cup calibration?

Murphy-Dyer: An electric brewer eliminates the many variables that can change when brewing coffee. This allows us to easily dial in a coffee and make subtle changes to each brew to better calibrate to each other. It also allows us to use our time effectively by brewing more at a time and having more time to focus on the coffee itself. 

Enthusiast Coffee Brewer sits alongside a bottle of spirits.

Pictured: The Enthusiast Coffee Brewer was used for Brewers Cup calibration.

Bonavita: We were excited to have the Enthusiast Coffee Brewer as the trusted gear for competition calibration. What do you look for in choosing an electric brewer for calibration?

Murphy-Dyer: I want something that is consistent and reliable. I pay close attention to the water temperature, the way water flows from the showerhead, and how the water saturates the coffee.