IKAWA Help Champions Roast Coffee—and Can Help You, Too

Three barista champions used IKAWA roasters to roast their coffee; now IKAWA is proud to announce that you can find their roast profiles online and that they will be launching a new sponsorship program for the 2018 competition season.


Photos courtesy of IKAWA

At the 2017 World Barista Championship (WBC), held in Seoul, South Korea last November, barista competitors from over 60 nations presented an array of coffees meant to excite and challenge the judges. The coffees that competitors use are often rare and expensive, so roasting them on a machine meant for large coffee batches might not be the best option when you only have a few pounds to work with. That’s where the IKAWA Sample Roaster comes in.

The IKAWA Sample Roaster allows users to roast small batches of coffee (60 grams) consistently and quickly.

Three of the top 18 competitors (Ben Put of Canada, Kyle Ramage of the United States, and André Eiermann of Switzerland) at this year’s WBC opted to roast their coffee on IKAWA roasters. Many of the competitors brought the small, portable, and consistent roasters with them to Seoul, and some even featured them on stage and used coffee that was roasted during their performance. IKAWA, along with manufacturing roasters, also helps track roast profiles and provides users with a database of sample profiles. All three of the competitors who used IKAWA roasters provided their roast profiles to the database; in the spirit of sharing information and providing tools, IKAWA has announced that they will provide six world champions with roasters to use for competition at the 2018 WBC in Amsterdam.

André Eiermann of Switzerland roasted coffee on stage for the judges at the 2017 WBC.

For Ben Put, who placed fourth at this year’s WBC, having the IKAWA meant that he could roast on-site. “One of the most nerve-wracking experiences is trying a coffee for competition after flying with it,” a press release states. “If it didn’t show up well, there wasn’t much hope of flying home, re-roasting it and flying back. Ben traveled with his roaster, and if his coffee didn’t taste good in Korea, he was easily able to re-roast on site.”

Ben Put of Canada brought the roaster with him just in case anything happened to his coffee during travel. He notes that he’s able to use coffee one to three days off roast using the IKAWA, as opposed to waiting a week for coffee to rest.

The IKAWA roaster consolidates both the roasting time and the resting time a coffee needs. We saw a sample roast at this year’s Sensory Summit, where coffee was ready within five minutes. Ben noted that instead of waiting seven to 10 days for coffee to rest after it had been roasted, he could pull coffee off the IKAWA within one to three days. André used coffee that he roasted on stage for the judges, talking about freshness as an important aspect of coffee’s flavor throughout his routine.

O.M. Miles of IKAWA demonstrates the roaster at Sensory Summit—coffee went from green to roasted within five minutes. The iPad was used to follow the roasting curve and set a profile.

Along with being fast, the IKAWA is also consistent. “First crack would happen within one second of where I expected it to be, every time,” explained Ben. You can watch your rate of rise and roast curve on an app in real time, and ensure that each roast follows the curve you set. Essentially, once you develop a roast, not only can you basically replicate it every time, but you can share it with others in their app and allow other roasters to duplicate your results.

Kyle Ramage used the IKAWA for his coffee—and now IKAWA wants to provide roasters to upwards of six national competitors for the 2018 WBC.

Seeing the results of these champions, IKAWA wants to provide roasters to barista champions interested in roasting their own coffee and having equipment with them during their competition. Applications for the sponsorship are open now, and IKAWA will pick six champions to loan a machine to during their competition preparation and performance. If you’re interested in seeing the roast profiles used by the 2017 champions, check out the IKAWA Pro App.

About Ashley Rodriguez 413 Articles
Ashley is the Online Editor for Barista Magazine. She's based in Chicago. If you want to share a story or have a comment, you can reach her at ashley@baristamagazine.com.