lalo perez varona under PRESSure to perform!

Lalo Perez Varona in preparation for the 2012 SWRBC

The Single Serve Espro™ Press will be put to work again at the upcoming South West Regional Brewers Cup (SWRBC) by competitor Lalo Perez Varona, who will hopefully im-Press the judges with his presentation. Last week we saw Jordan Barber win the North East Brewers Cup Regional competition in New York, so we hope the Espro™ Press will work its magic on the opposite coast too.

Lalo has focused on the coffee industry for just over a year now and this will be his second opportunity to compete, having competed at SCAA Houston in 2011. At the SWRBC held in Santa Cruz in March, Lalo intends to use a unique Indian coffee that he will roast himself. As for the brewing part, and much to Espro’s delight, he is using the Single Serve Espro™ Press. “I love the results I’ve been getting. I am a big fan of full immersion and French press especially, but the Espro truly blows it out of the water,” commented Lalo. “Part of my presentation is about encouraging people to make better coffee at home. And how easy it is with the Espro™ Press!” We get to know Lalo a little better in the following Q&A session:

How long have you been in the coffee industry?

I have been in the coffee industry since December 2009, so a little bit over a year. Although when I look back it feels like I’ve been a part of it my entire life.

What do you love about coffee?

What is there not to love about coffee? I love the fact that it is something humanity shares, it is universal like no other thing I know. I like that because it brings people together. What I think got me hooked though was brewing. The first time I watched someone brew a pour over, the attention they were pouring into it, it was just magic. I’m a cook by trade and have a scientific approach to cooking and coffee seemed like a craft that would allow me to dive deep into those interests: craftsmanship and science. I love that it is a food and a perishable item as well, almost as though it's natures little gift and we have a deadline to really bring out its potential, and then its gone. Im entranced by the whole cycle, and its complexity, from cultivating, processing, roasting, brewing. Oh, and obviously drinking it, especially because it is so elusive, a good cup I mean. Ultimately what I love the most is the enormous potential for learning that exists in the trade.

How did you get introduced to the competition side of things?

I competed in a cooking competition when I was in school and Ill never forget the rush. Hot, sharp, heavy items flying everywhere and you're scrambling to make something in an hour that is supposed to be the best you've ever made. Its almost ridiculous. I always wanted to compete in cooking again but it seems to only be a thing if you're enrolled in school. When I first started working in coffee my trainer mentioned the competitions but I had no idea what they encompassed. She suggested I go judge, and truly without knowing anything about this trade I hopped on a plane and was a sensory judge for SW Regionals. That kind of put it all into perspective. I had no idea the Brewers Cup even existed but when I saw it in L.A. last year I saw it as an opportunity to compete again. My first competition in coffee was the Brewers Cup in Houston. I like this style of competition because the learning curve is so steep for everyone. Im sure everyone who competes can make amazing coffee with ease, but when you know that it is mere points that separate you form the rest it really makes you pay attention to detail. I think there is a lot to gain from that. Suddenly things that were out of your perspective become crucial.

Where do you work?

I'm doing some independent research at the moment. I live in San Francisco now and will only be here for a little bit, so I thought it was a good time for this. I spend a lot of time at home brewing, roasting, reading, experimenting, and just learning about this amazing craft.

What's your favourite coffee origin?

My favorite origin? That’s a tough one. I like the underdogs for some reason. I’ve had beautiful coffees from Bolivia, Ecuador, India and I think they are under represented. I also have an affinity for natural processed Ethiopians.

The SWRBC Brewers Cup is a pre-qualifier to the USBC Brewers Cup, which will take place in conjunction with the 24th Annual SCAA Exposition and Symposium in Portland, OR April 19th - April 22nd, 2012. There are two rounds of judging for the Brewers Cup: round one and the finals. The top six competitors from round one will advance to the finals round, and the winner of the SWRBC Brewers Cup will move on to compete in Portland, OR to become the US Brewers Cup Champion. The US Brewers Cup Champion will then go on to represent the US in the World Championship 2012 Brewers Cup in Vienna, Austria.

Espro Inc. is proud to sponsor Lalo at the SWRBC and we wish him all the best in this competition. Lalo will also spend some time at the Espro Booth (no. 3095) at SCAA Portland in April, helping brew some coffee from the Single Serve Espro™ Press and our newest product, the 30 oz Espro™ Press.

Bruce Constantine