2023 SCA U.K. Coffee Roasters Championship

The 2023 SCA U.K. Coffee Roasters Championship takes place this week, and we’re excited to see one of our roastery’s own Good Eggs competing; Senior Roaster Alexandru-Catalin Marin!

Taking place at Pharmacie Coffee Roasters (11 Cliffe Industrial Estate, Lewes, BN8 6JL) from June 7th - 9th, the 2023 SCA U.K. Coffee Roasters Championship will decide the U.K. Coffee Roasters Champion, who will then go on to represent the U.K. at the World Coffee Roasting Championship in Tapei, Taiwan, in November this year. 

The event takes place in 3 stages, evaluating competitors on their performance in “evaluating the quality of green coffee (coffee grading), developing a roasting profile that best accentuates the desirable characteristics of that coffee, and on the ultimate cup quality of coffees roasted”.

As much as we love having Alex around at the roastery every day, we’re excited for him to get out and compete, and we’re crossing all our fingers and toes for him this week.

We caught up with Alex at our new state-of-the-art roastery in Stratford to find out more about his journey in roasting so far, and how he’s preparing for this competition: 

  •   What goes into preparing for something like this? 
  • Knowing the rules of the competition by heart really helps, otherwise you risk getting disqualified. Obviously you’re going to want to know how to score. I’ve had 4 years of experience in roasting, but preparing for this really just comes down to practice.

    The equipment at the competition may behave differently than expected, it may be different equipment than you’re used to - you can’t expect the same results each time, so it’s more about working with what you’re given to grade the coffee & create a roast plan which will result in a consistent flavour profile.

    The only way you can really prepare yourself is to continuously be grading and learning from people with experience in these championships. My coach, Alexandru Niculae, won this competition previously in 2016, and his help has been invaluable.

  • Tell us a bit about your background in roasting coffee? 
  • I started my coffee journey in Malta in 2016 working in coffee shops. I stayed as a barista for a few years before moving into roasting in 2019. I moved to London looking for new opportunities in coffee and roasting at The Roasting Shed, and attended many SCA courses and training programmes. I moved to The Gentlemen Baristas in 2022.

    • What's your advice for people looking to go into roasting?

    If you’ve got a passion for coffee, go for it. People looking to move from cafes to roasteries need to also be aware, however, that this work isn’t just about profiling and cupping - there’s a lot of training that goes into this, and also a lot of heavy lifting and cleaning. You need to be able to work well with people. You should be critically minded and creative - there’s a lot of  trial and error involved, almost  like cooking, where you try something you’ve made and need to decide whether the flavours are balanced, whether it’s replicable. A lot of the skills can be learnt, but the interest and passion to keep going is key.

    Join us in wishing Alex all the best for this weekend - we’re looking forward to seeing how he performs! Read more about the championship here.