At Swiss Water, one of our favorite things about what we do is getting to interact with the coffee community—the coffee professionals and coffee lovers who make our jobs so rewarding. We've especially missed the events that bring us together—especially the competitions—in this past year and a half. So this spring, we decided to make the most of things. In partnership with The Barista League, we launched a special competitive coffee event that could be played right from home!
This May, we were thrilled to co-host the De Caf-Man Challenge: a virtual-world-based sensory tasting challenge inspired by classic video games, starring three of our Small Batch Series decaffeinated coffees. Contestants across Europe and the UK were sent game kits and coffee samples and slurped their way to victory, while tasting Ethiopia Masha, Colombia Las Rosas, and the surprise India Ratnagiri Estate (which only two competitors identified correctly!) Along the way, they busted myths about decaffeinated coffee, and surprised and delighted their palates. Our celebrity judges: Andre Eiremann, Valentina Palange (Specialty Pal), and Nicole Battefeld, led the way in guiding and deciding, and generously shared their coffee knowledge and enthusiasm throughout.Photo: Rob Clarijs / @robc.cc
Best of all for us, our contestants sent in heaps of amazing photos & videos, from dogs in costumes to incredible videos enlightening the coffee world about decaf. (Super shout outs to Paris coffee star Michaela Iordache for her incredible Decaf Myths reels!) You can check out our Instagram Stories highlights for just a few of the wonderful entries we saw roll in. In the end, however, there could be only three. The winners were:
First Place: Tom Finch…winning a La Marzocco Linea Mini!
Second place: Daniel McKee…winning a Ratio Six Brewer!
Third place: Meg Byrne…winning a Comandante Grinder!
We had the MOST fun being part of this event, and couldn't have done it without The Barista League, our judges, and the enthusiastic and brilliant coffee pros who played. Thank you all for the amazing event—we hope next time we play, it's in person!