Five Questions with Lance Hedrick

We recently had a chance to chat with Lance Hedrick, fresh off of his second-place finish in the US Brewer’s Cup. Lance is the head of sales for Onyx Coffee Roasters, and competed in the Brewer’s Cup using an Able Kone.

Able: Hi Lance! Thanks for taking some time to chat. Since we weren’t able to be at the competition, we’d love to know: what coffee did you compete with?

Lance: For the USBrC, I used a Gesha coffee from Cerro Azul (Café Granja La Esperanza). The coffee was absolutely beautiful, with an aroma of floral raw honey and cherry, and a palate marked by black cherry, ripe raspberry, raw honey, cranapple juice, and green apple. The producer was Rigoberto Herrera out of Colombia. The coffee was processed using a method they came up with, called the XO process, named after the cognac. It is essentially a pressurized version of the famed lactic process.

Able: Rad. Why did you decide to use the Kone?

I used the Kone because it was conducive to a high flow rate and has enough porosity to allow fines to travel through (particles smaller than around 300 microns). This allowed me to increase agitation early on, using the holes to discharge the fines, to be subsequently removed with a receiving paper filter beneath. This allowed for an extremely high cup clarity while also allowing a partial extraction of the fines, producing an incredible tactile experience.

Able: Love that. What was your competition recipe?

My recipe was 15g of coffee, ground on the number value 7.5 on an EK43s, to 220g of water (third wave water) heated to 201 F. I poured 40g to start, and stirred for 4 seconds with a borosilicate stir stick. At 45 seconds, I poured 90g and once again stirred for 4 seconds. At 1 min 30 sec, I took the mesh filter out (that contains the coffee) and placed it into a fresh Flower Dripper with an already wetted filter to finish the brew. Finally, I poured 90g of water onto the bed and let it drip until 3 min 15 sec.

Able: Beyond that recipe — any general tips for brewing with the Kone?

I’d advise ensuring that the coffee is sifted to remove fines if brewing with the Kone solo. The holes are big enough to allow more of those fines to pass through into the final cup, potentially muddling flavor clarity. With the fines removed, you can have a cleaner cup. I’d suggest a temperature around boiling; since the drawdown will be extraordinarily quick, emphasis will need to be placed on heat and agitation.

Able: One final question. What excites you about specialty coffee at the moment?

I love all of the excitement going around in regards to pushing boundaries and questioning long held beliefs. How we pay for coffee, how we value producers, how we brew/roast/source, and the emphasis on equity across the chain. It is an exciting time when profit margins aren’t the main topic of conversation, but spreading the wealth is. With the C-crisis currently going on, it is important to have healthy discussions on how we, as coffee professionals, can begin to make a difference.