Discover Harry Ko’s approach to winning the ASCA Southern Region Brewers Cup in the lead-up to Nationals

Brewers Cup

Harry Ko of H.A Bennett & Sons is the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) Southern Region Brewers Cup Champion.

Devin Loong of Ona Coffee placed second and Archie Chiu of Code Black Coffee placed third.

“I was so emotional when I realised I had won. I’ve been waiting since 2016 for this opportunity and to see my hard work payoff is really special to me,” says Harry.

“Coffee has been such a huge part of my life. Those 10 minutes I had during the competition to speak about my favourite specialty coffees allowed me to express my love for coffee. All I can say is thank you.”

Harry visited Melbourne for the first time in 2013 to attend the first Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) and has been competing in the Brewers Cup since 2016.

“The Brewers Cup competition is so competitive now, and I had no time to practice so I didn’t think I’d win,” says Harry.

In the competition Harry used a Sidra varietal from the El Diviso Farm in Colombia, which is a double anaerobic natural processed coffee, produced by Nestor Lasso.

When developing the concept of his brewing method, Harry found that within one lot of coffee there were two distinct visual differences.

“Part of the coffee appeared to have a deeper yellow colour with dimple marks on the end, and the other portion was more green-yellow and well formed. The dimple marks on the end of the bean were due to microorganisms that were activated inside of the ripest beans during fermentation and are similar to the partial sour defect, meaning the seed will never sprout. I like to call these ‘activated beans’,” he says.

“The other portion of the coffee was regularly fermented and had a green-yellowish colour but not the dimpling that occurs from the microorganisms breaking down inside the seed.

I decided to hand sort these two different beans and treat them as two separate coffees.

Harry says each coffee roasted very differently and had different flavour characteristics in their cup profile.

“The ‘activated beans’ have more tropical fruit and cacao nib notes, while the regularly fermented beans had more floral notes. I knew I had unlocked the best of the coffee by dividing the components of the single lot and treating them differently before combining them back together,” he says.

In the brewing stage, Harry discovered the best ratio for combining his roasts of activated and non-activated beans.

“Using a Clever Dripper I can control when both roasts are introduced into the brew and the different contact times they have with the water. The dripper allows me to control and combine both methods of immersion and percolation to enhance the body, acidity and sweetness of the final beverage,” he says.

Brewing recipe:

  • Water: Australian alpine crystal water at 98°C
  • Start with 11 grams of non-activated bean in the flat bed Clever Coffee Dripper
  • Bloom with 60 grams of water for 45 seconds (the Clever Dripper is closed for the first phase of immersion brewing)
  • At 45 seconds, add 100 grams water
  • At 1:20 minutes, open the Clever Dripper (changing from immersion to percolation brewing)
  • At two minutes, add an additional 5 grams of ‘activated beans’ to the Clever Dripper. Add a further 100 grams of water (ensuring to saturate the newly introduced grinds)
  • Brew finishes around three minutes.

Just two hours after Harry won the ASCA Southern Region Brewers Cup victory, Harry went back to the roastery to roast coffee.

“I was so happy and just wanted to celebrate with my team at Bennett & Sons. They helped me through the whole process of rehearsing my speech, tasting coffees, and giving me confidence. I want to say a big thank you to my family too, who supported me throughout the competition.”

The ASCA Australian Coffee Championships will take place at the Meat Market in North Melbourne from 18 to 20 August.

Read more comp news:


Send this to a friend