CoffeeWars 4: Lessons Learned
There's always room for improvement, and nobody knows this better
than the staff of CoffeeWars. Although this year's event was an
unprecedented success, there are still some things that could have
been better, and some items we want to bear in mind as we gear up
for CoffeeWars 5.
- Guidelines: We should supply judges
with some better information about how to do their
jobs. This will enhance consistency. For example:
Just like a wine tasting, we should publish the
criteria that we're trying to judge.
- How should one rate "Acidity?" (is 10
more acid? Is 10 good?)
- How should one rate "Overall?" (or,
should this category be eliminated,
and derived from others)
- What will be done with non-integer
ratings? (or zero, for that matter,
on a scale from 1 to 10)
- More Time: Golly, if we're going to
sample this much (or more) coffee, we'd better
plan to span this event across a couple of days.
That way we can have a better chance at accepting
all the entries people bring, and time won't be
such a desperate issue.
- Sterner and More Explicit Rules: We
wound up disqualifying two entries; this should
not have to happen. The announcement should be
more definite about what constitutes an acceptable
- Beans only. No pre-ground.
- Enough must be submitted to brew
four pots (both for the sake
of aroma, and also in case there
is an accident or run-off)
- Entries will not be returned, unless
you both let us know, and also
make arrangements to get them
- Better Entry Management: The blind
tasting was good, but could have been handled
better; each entry should be placed into a
numbered container when it is handed around,
instead of just passing the bag it came in,
because this allows judges to identify their
own entries, and introduces potential for bias.
- Better Record Keeping: It would have
been good to capture more data (i.e., what order
were the coffees brewed and tasted), and also to
be more organized with its collection (had I known
I'd have 120 ballots to process, I'd have had a
spreadsheet running on a laptop at the event, so
I could do all my tabulation live).
Obviously, this isn't the last round of thought that will go into
preparation for CoffeeWars 5. We look forward to hearing anyone
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