A Shot in the Dark 2020: Preliminary Round Judging

Thursday, 21 May, 2020

There was a flurry of excitement in the roasting world this week as the A Shot in the Dark presented by Genio Roasters competition coffees poured into the Sevenoaks Trading offices in Joburg, by courier, by hand and by homing pigeon - anything in fact - to beat the deadline!  There were some casualties along the way with some roasters unable to get their coffees through customs to SA or navigate the lockdown challenges - but in the end, 40 out of 50 competitors delicious parcels of goodness landed on the boardroom table at the Sevenoaks HQ. 

For those of you who don't know, Sevenoaks Trading, under the leadership of Carol Corlett, is one of the premier green coffee sourcing and distributing company in SA, with a 20 year history of trading in South Africa, and responsible for sourcing many of the best coffees around the world for our local market.   

A Shot in the Dark was started 3 years ago and has gone from strength to strength. This year the judging panel consisted of 3 of SA's top Q-graders: Nicodemus Nabakwe, Cuth Bland and Matthew Carter, ably assisted by the wonderful Thorisa and Paulien from Sevenoaks.  Mike MacDonald assisted in an advisory capacity and in updating the scoresheet beforehand.

Nicodemus Nabakwe, Head Judge weighs in: "It was another great opportunity awarded to me to judge this year’s ASITD. The judging panel and assistants were awesome and common sense prevailed where social distancing took precedence. Judges had to be split to judge on their separate tables as new rules were set. The score sheets this year improved from last year where flavour and sweetness took command of the roast". 

"All roasters who entered did extremely well as the bar was raised very high from last year’s competition. We had quite amazing roasts but what tantalized our taste buds more were City roasts. This roast brought out more refined flavours and sweetness with the final scores being tight after much calibration by the judges, Great work to all competitors who took part and see you all at CCW2020. May the best Roaster win."

Matt Carter joined the judging team in 2020 and we asked him about his experience cupping and scoring the different roasting profiles and styles of the competition coffee: "It was an incredible experience to cup alongside Nicodemus and Cuth, an absolute privilege which I'm super grateful for.  It was really interesting to taste the remarkable difference between the sets of cups even though it was the same coffee just by the different way people had roasted the coffee!  The roasting quality was impressive. We have some very good roasters in this country and I'm very proud to be have tasted the very best of them over these three days."   

Top 10 will be announced early next week!

Thank you to our incredible sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor: Genio Roasters

Preliminary Round Coffee and Venue Sponsor Sevenoaks Trading

Final Round Coffee Sponsor: Specialty Coffee Exchange

Equipment sponsor: Equipment Cafe

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