Coffee-focused software and digital solutions provider Cropster has teamed up with green coffee importer Balzac Brothers to offer the professional coffee community a free, good-natured online competition called RoastID.
Taking place over three weeks, the safely distanced community-building diversion revolves around a roast-oriented brainteaser that challenges participants to match charted roast profiles with the cupping sheets that would result from such roasts.
The quiz challenges coffee roasting newcomers and seasoned pros to flex their knowledge of how certain adjustments made during a roast will influence the qualities a coffee exhibits on the cupping table, as well as how those qualities are chalked up on a cupping form.
The online quiz portal opens on Wednesday, May 12, with the first set of mystery roast curves and cupping forms for participants to try to match. The educational component comes afterwards, with a webinar following each round in which a variety of renowned specialty coffee roasters will reveal the answers, discuss the curves and shed light on which changes in the curve translated to which characteristic in the cup.
Cropster Account Manager Taylor Wallace told Daily Coffee News that he and Balzac Brothers Green Coffee Sales Associate Erik Stanek originally planned to introduce the competition at the SCA Expo in Portland, Oregon. A couple weeks after the Expo was officially canceled, Stanek and Wallace reconvened with idea to take the show online.
“Something that both Erik and I have in common is the love of bringing new ideas to the table,” said Wallace. “We also love involving people and helping those around us how we can with what we have.”
Cropster’s efforts to lighten the mood with the RoastID competition also comes about two months after the company extended a helping to the industry with Shipsbeans, a platform for roasters to quickly establish an online storefront during the sudden retail shutdowns.
“The response to shipsbeans.com has been phenomenal,” Paul Bartholomew, Cropster’s head of marketing, told DCN. “We’ve helped a few hundred businesses get their coffees online and more are signing up daily. We’ve been busy on the ecommerce side for a while at Cropster, but we focused more on things like production scheduling with Order to Roast. Now we’re helping people set up shops, payment partners and shipping solutions which has been very interesting. People’s positive responses to the whole initiative have been a highlight during a challenging time for everyone.”
The roasting luminaries slated for hosting post-RoastID quiz webinars include Anne Cooper, Rob Hoos, Joe Marrocco, and 2019 US Roaster Champion Shelby Williamson. Participants will also get a chance to engage the experts in some live-streaming Q&A.
The top 10 winners all get bragging rights, a T-shirt and other swag from Cropster and Balzac Brothers. The top three also take home an Amazon gift card: $75 for third place, $100 for the runner up and a $150 grand prize for first place.
The competition will occur once a week for three Wednesdays in a row, starting on May 13, followed by May 20 and May 27. Each episode will be more challenging than the last, and will focus on specific themes hinted at by the published webinar subjects. Each round will begin at 12:00 a.m. PDT and remain open for 24 hours. Webinars follow at 9:00 a.m. Pacific the Thursdays after each round.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.