2014

Introducing CoffeeTalk’s “Virtual Roaster’s Challenge”

Rocky Rhodes

For anyone who has been to a Roasters Guild retreat, you know that there are fun and creative challenges each year to stimulate your creative side and to challenge your team’s skills in the roasting field. We have decided to try something new here at CoffeeTalk. Welcome to the first annual (or possibly the last depending on how it goes) Virtual Roaster’s Challenge!

‘MacGyver Roasting’
If you do not know what ‘MacGyvering’ is, then you are probably under 30! In an 80’s television show, the lead character, Angus MacGyver, was able to find and use tools around him to do amazing things. If he had a stick of gum, a paperclip, a nine-volt battery, and his trusty penknife, then he could disarm a missile or take down a Sherman tank. He was that smart and creative. If you have been roasting for any time, you will have had to ‘MacGyver’ your roaster in some way to keep roasting—jumping a kill switch, duct taping the, well, ducting that of which is falling apart, etc.

For your challenge, we are going to present you with some items and you need to build, rather MacGyver together, a sample roaster. This is, of course, a virtual roaster because if any of you get a little TOO creative, a virtual roaster will not burn down your shop, and we do not have any liability issues!!!

Unlike the Roasters Guild Retreat, this is not group work. You are all on your own! You will have 30 days to submit your solutions. Here is what you have to work with:

The MacGyver staples:
1)    The pocketknife: (Think Swiss Army knife)
2)    A stick of chewing gum with a foil wrapper
3)    20 feet of string
4)    A fully charged nine volt battery

A few challenge add-on items
1)    Hair dryer (assume you have access to electricity)
2)    A roll of tin foil
3)    A can of extra chunky beef stew
4)    A camp stove with fuel
5)    2 rolls of duct tape
6)    1 broken refrigerator (all of the parts are there, it just stopped cooling last week)
7)    A pile of ¾ inch diameter sticks in three foot lengths
8)    A smart phone with no reception or Wi-Fi (you can never get a signal when you need it)
9)    A cast iron skillet
10)    A 1-5 quart pot
11)    A deck of playing cards
12)    A 9 iron – right handed – Ping!
13)    1 large towel
14)    An umbrella
15)    10 empty Coke bottles
16)    Four coconuts
17)    A Minnesota snipe (If you do not know what one is or how to use one, ask me at the next Roasters Guild Retreat in August. Skamania has snipe too.)

Tools nearby:
1)    Hacksaw
2)    Hammer
3)    Small spot welder
4)    And of course, the trusty pocketknife mentioned earlier.

Handy ‘other items’:
1)    Anything you were wearing when you started the challenge. Things like shoelaces, glasses, a belt etc.

A couple of obvious ground rules: No you cannot ‘phone a friend’ and have them bring you stuff. Think of yourself as caught behind enemy lines and no one is coming to save you. The only way out is to build this sample roaster and roast your way out! It is a life or death situation and the only person you can trust is you!

No, you cannot have started this contest wearing a 1-kilo sample roaster.

Submitting a Solution
Once you have a concept for a great sample roaster, you need to submit the following:
1)    A 250-word description of your roaster design philosophy and how you ‘built’ it
2)    A schematic of what your roaster looks like when it is functioning
3)    Create PDF’s or word documents and submit to:
roasterchallenge@coffeetalk.com
4)    Include a short bio including how long you have been roasting, what you use, and a photo of you or logo for your company.

Fabulous Prizes
CoffeeTalk will take the best designs and feature them over the next few months and share your brilliance with the world. Awards will be given for:

•    Most likely to work
•    Most creative use of materials
•    Most likely to be a spectacular mishap involving the fire department
•    Best overall plan, philosophy, execution of design, and submission story

International Coffee Consulting is proud to sponsor the prize for “most likely to work!” The prize is five hours of Coffee Tech Support from their new service to the coffee industry. Think of it as a help desk at your disposal, where all coffee questions will get answered (for a fair price). Other sponsors will most likely come on board as well, but if not, then hey, you can have bragging rights as being the first ever to win the category!

Have fun and be creative!

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