There was some Counter Culture electricity in the air when—during the awards ceremony for the U.S. Brewers Cup—it was down to Jonathan Bonchak and Erin McCarthy, both of whom work for the company. Jonathan came into the U.S. Brewers Cup competition as the Southeast Regional Brewers Cup Champ, and he sailed through the preliminary round and onto the finals, along with his friend and co-worker, Erin McCarthy, who would go on to win top honors. (To read a profile about Erin and his recipe for winning, as well as his prep as he gets ready for the World Brewers Cup in Melbourne next month, go HERE.)
Watching these two guys up on stage after they’d heard they were first and second was a magic moment—they couldn’t have been happier for each other. So we decided to post profiles of both of them here on Pasteboard so that on the off chance you’re not already a big fan of theirs, you can be now.
Today, we learn more about the awesomeness that is Jonathan Bonchak…
Sarah: Hey Jonathan! Congratulations! Can you tell us all about the coffee you used to kick so much ass in the U.S. Brewers Cup in Boston?
Jonathan: The coffee comes from a small town called Haru situated west of Yirgacheffe in SW Ethiopia (click here for map link). The coffee farmer cooperative there is also named after the town, and so we call this coffee “Haru.” The Haru coop is relatively small, consisting of about 1,100 members and the coffee is grown between 1,800 – 2,100 meters. Three main Ethiopian heirloom varieties are grown at a majority of the plots there in Haru, and that fact combined with their meticulous processing give Haru the “identity” and unique flavor profile I described in my presentation. I used the “Grade 1” lot to win SERBC Brewers Cup, and for USBC, I used that same lot preparation but from a recent January 2013 Harvest. The Grade 1 lot is picked at the peak of the harvest, has better selected cherry, and is prepared to a higher level before being exported. For this, we paid a 15% premium over the premiums we already pay for the rest of the coffee. This is a washed coffee that employs a secondary underwater soak and is dried on raised beds for up to 14 days. This is all probably more info than you hoped for but in the slight chance that you’d actually like more, please check out my blog post about Haru found here.
Jonathan: My approach to this coffee was simply to highlight and amplify all of the very unique, clean, and delicious flavors and aromas that Haru has to offer. To do this, it was important for me to let go of some fundamentals and trust my palate. Once I got to a place that I thought was coffee was tasting better than ever before, I dug in and locked in on the specific parameters and how to achieve that brew repeatedly. I used the following gear:
– Bonmac / Counter Culture Coffee “classic” 1-hole pourover dripper