So much good coffee, so many solid presentations.
Here’s how it played out score-wise:
1st: 658 Pete Licata - Honolulu Coffee Co -USBC Champion 2011!!!
2nd: 632.5 Nik Krankl - Gelato Bar & Espresso Cafe
3rd: 623 Ryan Knapp - MadCap
4th: 604.5 Trevor Corlett - MadCap
5th: 585.5 Lorenzo Perkins - Caffe Medici
6th: 567.5 Kevin Bohlin - Ritual
SEMI FINAL ROUND
1st: 678 Nik Krankl - Geltao Bar & Espresso Cafe
2nd: 670 Pete Licata - Honolulu Coffee Co.
3rd: 643 Ryan Knapp - MadCap
4th: 627.5 Kevin Bohlin - Ritual
5th: 620.5 Trevor Corlett - MadCap
6th: 607 Lorenzo Perkins - Caffe Medici
7th: 595.5 Jared Truby - Verve
8th: 593 Ian Levine - Verve
9th: 591 Jeremy Sterner - Peregrine
10th: 588.5 Scott Lucey - Alterra
11th: 587.5 Tyler Stevens - BARISTA *
12th: 587.5 Park Brannen - Cafe Grumpy *
13th: 585 Joseph Marrocco - Kaldi’s
14th: 581.5 Laila Ghambari - Stumptown *
15th: 581.5 Sarah Dooley - Espresso Parts/Olympia*
16th: 571.5 Robbie Britt - Espresso Parts
17th: 567 Jacque DesMarais - The Coffee Ethic
18th: 564.5 Devin Chapman - Coava
19th: 558 Sam Purvis - Coava
20th: 550 Row Aczon - Honolulu Coffee Co
21st: 543 Ryan Wilbur - Stumptown
22nd: 542 Nicole Call - Kaldi’s
23rd: 540 David Delchamps - 1000 Faces Coffee
24th: 511 Chandler Rentz - Batdorf & Bronson
25th: 510 Phillip Search - Dallis Bros.
26th: 506.5 Michael Harwood - Carrboro
*In the event of a tie, the competitor with the higher total espresso score (on all sensory sheets) beats the tie/gets the higher placement.
ROUND ONE TOP TEN (Regional Champions not included in this round)
1: Jared Truby - Verve
2: Ryan Wilbur - Stumptown
3: Ian Levine - Verve
4: Trevor Corlett - MadCap
5: Park Brannen - Cafe Grumpy
6: Lorenzo Perkins - Caffe Medici
7: Kevin Bohlin - Ritual
8: Laila Ghambari - Stumptown
9: Nik Krankl - Gelato Bar & Espresso Caffe
10: Tyler Stevens - BARISTA
We suggest you avoid comparing round-to-round scores and competition-to-competition numbers too much. Raw scores are not a good indicator of performance in other competitions (WBC etc.) and there are many factors that will impact scoring. The purpose of each round is also different - to find the finalists, to find the semi-finalists, to find the champion.
Ryan Knapp - MadCap Coffee (NCRBC Champ)
Ryan is one of two regional champion to make finals. Ryan is the roaster at MadCap.
He’s sharing two fantastic Colombian coffee from the Herrera region in Tolima. Each coffee is grown about two miles apart by two brothers, and named for each.
The first coffee is in the Luis Reinoso in the capps. Yields a malt flavor, great body which pairs well with 1700-1800 m, washed and patio dried bourbon and caturra. Dark chocolate, notes of citrus, smooth and creamy. Dosing 21 grams to highlight big flavor.
2 miles north, similar elevation and practices, and similar soil, but brighter, more clear, 100 percent caturra single varietal. A bit more sparkly, slightly cooler, longer ripening which produces a sweeter cup. These show up in the espressos. Ryan roasted this coffee 2 minutes less than the Luis Reinoso and dropped 5 degrees earlier. He’s dosing at 18 grams with a faster extraction brings out the fruity acidity. He asks the judges to stir well to incorporate all the elements and get nose to experience aromatics. Big, clean, sweet and balanced all the way across. Snappy acidity and a nice grapefruit bitterness.
Sig drink: chocolate ganache with depth and complexity that pairs with the Luis Reinoso that contains a bit of citrus and a nutty flavor. Paired with grapefruit juice, a bit of honey and some water. He’s using both coffees in the sig drink, two different extractions. Get to work on shots with 3 minutes and change remaining. (These finals competitors are really pulling a lot of shots in their 15 minutes!) Part 1 is the Luis Reinoso pulled into the dark chocolate. Rich, deep and intense. He asks the judges to take little sips. The second beverage is the dedeiere pulled into grapefruit juice, stir, smell and take small sips. Not meant to be a pairing or for balance, but experiencing how two coffees grown so close together can be so different.
Ryan calls time at 15:00 on the nose. Well done!
Why he could be Champ: Ryan is the roaster at MadCap, so he has complete control over the roast profile of his coffee. His training has been supported by his team mate Trevor, also in the finals. His technical knowledge of his coffee paired with explanation of dosing and extraction, and how those things impact the cup quality, paired with his good use of story could really wow the judges and be just the sort of thing they’d like to send to WBC. His Colombian coffees could also fare very well given the location of the upcoming World Barista Championships.
Kevin Bohlin - Ritual
Kevin is sharing a washed coffee from Honduras, La Piñona. Kevin recently visited the farm, met the farmer, and was able to cup the coffee on the farm. Pacas profile - savory sweet aroma, citrus acidity, Leaves a dry ground sample. Invokes crema color rule calling out hazelnut crema with golden amber. Espressos down first - honey sweetness, stir thoroughly and drink to bottom for candy sweetness. 3:30 in and he goes to work on capps… In capps the coffee’s sweetness really comes forward with tastes like an Italian florentine cookie. Sweetness comes from the producer’s quality control program and relies mostly on his family to pick the cherries. Super sweet coffee = super sweet cappuccino.
Kevin describes his sig drink to be like his visit to this farm - simple yet complex, sweet yet bright, cool and refreshing like the mountain air was when he was hiking the finca.
He pulls three sets of shots for his sig drink, juices some pineapple on stage, and serves them together. The coffee is the base and filters out the crema using a paper filter and a V60. He adds the pineapple juice as a base creating a refreshing and balanced drink with a sweet fruity acidity. The next element is a raw meadow-foam honey that acts to round out the edges of the drink. He adds the coffee to a low-mineral content sparkling water to add efferevesence and make it refreshing, adding a little bitterness to balance out what was lost in the crema. Asks judges to sip pineapple juice first, pour the juice in with the water and espresso in a wine glass. Asks judges to coat inside of their mouth with the honey, take a sip of the combined elements, note experience, finish quickly to include the sweet honey. Plenty of time remaining, Kevin makes it look easy and calls time at 14:52.
USBC Finals complete!
Why he could be Champ: Kevin comes from Ritual which has a proven track record of USBC competition and some super solid coffees by some of the best in the west. He has great training support, green quality, and roasting skill in his pocket, plus he’s a super nice guy and has an ‘it” factor. He’s a first timer at the USBC, so its rare for a first-timer to take home the top prize. But he made it through the first two rounds to land here, so he obviously has solid Barista chops.
There’s a pretty good sized crew in the audience to cheer on Kevin, and they’ve got special Texas Ritual shirts.
Here’s some info on this coffee from Ritual’s Director of Quality Control and the newly but repeat US Cup Taster’s Champion, Ben Kaminsky: We are very excited about the return of Sebastián Benitez’s La Piñona. Near the beautiful town of El Cielito, Sebastian grows these Pacas cherries on his small, 2-hectare farm 1615 meters above sea level. The cooler temperatures in El Cielito help slow down the maturation of the cherries. Working the farm with the help of his wife and their 12 children, Sebastián relies on the help of only a handful of employees during the harvest, and manages to do all of the coffee-farming himself. He also processes his own coffee in a small mill, pulping the coffee by hand and fermenting it in a small cement tank. This year, he was able to dry his coffee on tables provided by Ritual as an investment in his efforts. That investment seems to be paying off in the form of amazing flavor: pineapple upside-down cake sweetness with a clean, citric acidity and a honey-like finish. As espresso, the Pinona remains wonderfully balanced, but further embraces and emphasizes hoppy aromas, fresh pine and fir qualities and pineapple flavor in the cup, with a viscous honeycomb finish.
2011 US Cup Taster’s Champ Ben Kaminsky - Ritual
Lorenzo Perkins - Cafe Medici, Austin TX
Lorenzo Perkins - Cafe Medici, Austin TX
Story between two farmers, Separated into two lots, Jose Antonio by Cuvee. This coffee is three months off patio and not yet available. One bag was air shipped up for Lorenzo to use in the competition.
This coffee has a lower yield than some varietals due in part to a lot more shade. The challenges of cultivating this coffee are only equalled by its rewards. Specialty coffee is not an accident, it is intentionally crafted. To take a little extra risk, we can produce something that’s hopefully beautiful with no guarantee of success.
Coffee features jasmine on the nose, sweet orange acidity in front, jasmine in the middle, and sweet tangerine and chocolate in the finish.
Orange bourbon is carefully harvested by highly trained pickers which can result in a quality cup. Roasted to 422 degrees F in just under 14 minutes, this coffee is wonderful in a press pot, on the cupping table, or in a portafilter.
With milk, should get citrus and cream and the chocolate becomes a wonderful light caramel. Capps down with 6 minutes and some change remaining.
Sig drink has two elements. First to emphasize high ends, second to emphasize low ends. Tanzanian chocolate and concord grape juice to counter balance the jasmine. White chocolate ganache to represent creamy body. Pixie tangerine juice emphasize the high tone structure. Espresso is the final element of the drink. Starts high and ends low. White choc, tangerine and espresso, has judges stir and enjoy in three sips. The low is espresso with the dark chocolate and again three stirs and three sips.
Drinks down and calls time! Done.
Why he could be champ: Lorenzo is the local favorite and is almost on home turf. (He lives & works in Austin which is about a 3 hour drive.) He’s competed in the SC regional and this is his fifth competition routine, having done this twice in regionals and made it through round one and semi-finals of the USBC to land in finals. Here’s a video of Lorenzo discussing his SCRBC presentation. The coffee is just off the patio, and according to Lorenzo is “sparkling.” Fresh coffee seems to be key in this year’s USBC.
Nik Krakl - Espresso Bar & Gellato Cafe
Nik is focusing on shot weight. Although his presentation is numbers heavy, he tells judges that’s not important, wants judges to pay attention to how the beverage weight changes impact flavors. He’s using a fresh lot peaberry coffee from Caracol- Finca Matalapa El Salvador roasted by Ecco Caffe.
Nik’s table includes some small menus with coffee info, and his Robur-E grinder is on top of a wooden drawer for his knock box.
Espressos are pulled at 28 grams (shot weight, not coffee dose). They offer sugary cranberry up front, and spice of mild cinnamon and nutmeg in finish.
Capps come to the table, offering a warm buttered croissant quality with a subtle raspberry jam. Beverage weight increased to 31/32 grams to pull out more savory qualities and less dry cranberry.
Proposed of pacas and peaberry varietals. Drops some farm info, La Liberdad region of El Salvador. The farm faces the Pacific which receives a great deal of moisture. Coffee is 6 days off roast. The peaberry is easier to roast uniformly because of the shape. A typical peaberry lot is comprised of coffees from across the farm, and therefore not a zone specific lot. The lot comes from all over the farm which helps explain why this coffee can be so dynamic in the cup. More info here.
He’s creating a French press which he pours through a V60 paper filter to change the mouth feel into something more clean. For the espresso weight, he’s using 25/26 gram brewed beverage weight which will really bring forward those cranberry notes. He adds the espresso to the refiltered French press gaining the richness without the grittyness. For the final drink, he’s using aeration to enhance sweetness and cool the coffee, softer mouthfeel and increased sweetness. Progression in color, temperature, mouthfeel and taste, beginning sipping from left to right French press sip, aspirate the raspberry, then drink the espresso anyway you want, and calls time. Done.
Why he could be Champ: Nik has some stellar fresh-crop coffee and has been trained by some of the best in the business. With the roasting power of Ecco Caffe behind him, and some training support from Intelligentsia, Nik has the elements that can make a champion. He placed third in the SWRBC (two competitors in USBC finals) and don’t count him out of this race. His signature drink is killer.
Pete Licata - Honolulu Coffee Co.
Pete begins sharing the story of his introduction to this Kona coffee. He refers judges to the flavor tasting cards on the table and goes to work preparing the honeyd coffee, 3 specific tastes as he experienced them. Red typica, 1800 ft. Rusty’s Hawaiian, he picked himself, pulped them, and saved the cascara to make a tea representing the first taste he had of this coffee. He let it cure in the parchment for three months. The 2nd taste was in Honolulu, a light roast of the coffee that he cupped, and noted flavors that he showcases in a French press. The 3rd tasting was as an espresso. He pulls the shots, lets them cool for a moment, and then pours the tea thru a cloth filter. He explores the sugars from the mucelig, sour fruit notes, and the parchment has a grain flavor. French press focuses on the sweetness of chocolate and caramel, natural acidity. Roasted longer for espresso which translates to more sweetness and subduing the big acidity and natural fruit flavors. Taste them as tea, French press, and then espresso, from light flavors to heavy flavors, sweetness translating through the three. Coffee is balanced and sweet, but not very complex.
In his cappuccinos, he’s going to introduce another coffee which will improve the complexity. Caramel sweetness in the crema ring, dried ginger in the bottom of the cup. The natural coffee, also from Rusty’s Hawaiian, is both red & yellow caturra which Pete dried on raised screens for 3 weeks and cured in the fruit for 3 months. Wow.
Found another coffee on Kona which he pulped, and did two separate 12 hour dry fermentations with a rinse between that cleaned up this coffee a lot.
Ask judges to evalute crema, stir and take in the nose of tropical fruit. Wants them to wait a moment until it cools. 50% of honey, 35% of washed and 15% of natural. He layered the coffees together. Meyer lemon, blackberry, chocolate and caramel in the cup.
Thanks judges, calls time at 14:56.
Why he could be Champ: Pete is back again in the USBC finals, and has been here before. He is the SWRBC champion, one of two regional champions who made it thru to finals. He’s been intimately involved in all steps of his coffee’s production, from selection and harvest to process to roast, and this hands-on knowledge can really help the judge’s connect. Two competitor’s from Honolulu Coffee were in the semi finals, proving their coffee has merit here. Pete has been focused throughout the weekend and has been seen in the competitor’s prep room and lounge with his headphones and iPod, presumably going thru his routine in his head. Anytime you see a regional champion in the finals, you know they are a front-runner.
Trevor Corlett - MadCap Coffee Company
Showcasing a coffee from Los Lobos in Colombia, just a few weeks off the farm. This is the same coffee that won the Good Food Awards, but this year’s crop. (The coffee is so new that its not yet available from MadCap, but coming soon). He begins with capps. Tasting notes: Sweet creamy milk chocolate, hint of baked apple. The capps become the first face of this coffee. Espressos up next. This coffee sparkles, being fresh from harvest. Offers an intense yet balanced espresso. Cherry and lime sweetness, lingering finish will be a great introduction into the signature drink.
Sig drink: he prepares two signature drinks using ingredients he’s tasted in the Los Lobos. He’s created a sauce with each of the three, and creates tasters. Red - lemon juice, cherry concentrate, and mulling spice. Yellow - lime juice, quince, and crystalized ginger. He pulls his espresso into saucers. The drinks are intended to be intense, just as his espresso is intense. The tasters are meant to warm-up the tastes buds. He goes to work on his shots with just under 3:30 remaining.
Aks judges to take taster. Delivers espressos in brandy snifters, asks judges to swirl and take those back, then goes to work on phase 4, just over 1:00 remaining. Phase 4 is the second taster, tip it back, and swirl and follow with the 2nd set of shots. Calls time at 15:14 and done!
Why he could be Champ: Trevor has been here before. Experience goes a long way in the USBC. It’s been a big year for Mad Cap. Trevor and Ryan were hononred with a Good Food Award, and their coffee has been receiving other accolades. He had a strong showing in his regional, and is using a proven coffee. His signature drink looks great, is complex, and seems to be very coffee-centric with a focus on aromatics and embraces the way coffee is always changing. This should go over well with the judges. He also seems relaxed in his final’s performance, and seems to be having FUN which is key. His genuine nature comes thru whenever he’s performing. Well done!
All times are approximate and are CDT - Houston, TX
12:15 - Trevor Corlett, Madcap Coffee Company, Grand Rapids
12:50 - Pete Licata, Honolulu Coffee Co., Honolulu
1:20 - Nik Krankl, Espresso Bar & Gelato Caffe, Los Angeles
1:55 - Lorenzo Perkins, Cafe Medici, Austin
2:25 - Ryan Knapp, Mad Cap Coffee Company, Grand Rapids
3:00 - Kevin Bohlin, Ritual, San Francisco
You can see recap videos of both rounds and the live stream here:
Jared JT Truby - Verve
Sweetness, biterness, acidity play together in the cup. Varietal, processing, terroir are out of the barista’s control, however by changing dose, extraction yield and time (in barista’s control), he can explore some of the elements of balance.
Jared is using Elida Estate aka “his old flame” - from Boquete, Panama by Wilfred Lamastas & Aul Sol from El Sal. Espressos up first. Burnt caramel sweetness, grape acidity, bitter citrus finish. Outstanding balance comes from unique sorting and processing, mix of mechanical drying methods. Aul Sol grown at 1800 m using optical, density and hand sorting. Vanilla cream, caramel & cocoa in capps.
Sig drink: Jared is isolating the extraction bi-products, he separates the shot into three portions: sweetness, acidity and bitterness. Paired with a burnt caramel sauce. Acidity is paired with white grape and raspberry. Finally to pair with bitter solubles and an aromatic bitters made with cassia, clove and juniper berries. He then has them combine these three elements into one glass, has them stir, smell, and enjoy a balanced beverage. Dang, Jared just dropped a lot of crazy stuff!
Jams: Send Me an Angel, Maniac,
Ryan Knapp - MadCap
(recap coming soon)
Ian Levine - Verve
Ian is featuring a washed coffee produced by 50 farmers in Huila, Colombia - Los Naranjos.
esp: notes of apricot, citrus acidity, bittersweet chocolate
In his sig: same coffee via 3 brew methods on table - v60 for clarity/citrus, french press - silky mouthfeel, toddy 12 hours - marriage, clarity of flavour and sturdy body. Apricot sweetness, citrus acidity replaced with flavours of toffee, honey and vanilla. A diverse amount of flavors, aromas, and textures. The apricot reduction pair with espresso - toddy concentrate, recreation of cappuccino, drink in two parts sip off top - honey vanilla and coffee cream, finish beverage with emphasis on apricot sweetness linger on palete for days.
jams: Justin Timberlake - Future Sex/Love Sound, Annie Are You Ok - Michael Jackson
Nikolas Krankl - Gelato Bar & Espresso (USBC Finalist)
Beverage weight is the focus of Nik’s presentation and the impact on flavor profile and cup quality. He’s aiming for 19 grams. El Salvador Finca Matalapa peaberry. Clean, bright, juicy. Goes to work and returns with tasting notes. This coffee is roasted by Ecco Caffe. Fresh cranberry acidity. (This coffee is different than the one he used at the Southwest Regional.) Four days off roast.
Nik uses a French press of the coffee, and changes the mouthfeel by pouring it through a glass V60. Allows it to cool down to optimize the aromatics.
Nik aerates the coffee by pouring it thru a wine aerator to not only cool it down, but open up the aromatics. Tells judges to drink however they want, and that it keeps getting sweeter.
Calls time at 14:40. Plenty of time.
Devin Chapman - Coava
Devin is using an Ethiopia Kochere.
He’s recreating a traditional coffee ceremony where coffee is roasted, ground, boiled in hot water to create a dense & rich brew, sweetened and spiced and served in three bowls. He adds 130 g of star anise and black tea, 9g melted dark choc, 6 shots of espresso. Served in traditional Ethiopian cups dressed with lemon rind. The beverage introduces you to flavor profile of coffee.
He adds shots into tea pot for sig with some lemon peel.
30% of coffees come from this region. Coffees are sought after because of their quality. Grown at 1900m, heirloom varietal, zesty aroma and lemony acidity. Wet processed, raised bed dried which cements a clean complexity.
Fruit in aroma, dark chocolate in cup
Capps: notes of lemon but not sharp, round like meringue. Flavors focus on silky body, flavors of milk chocolate.
This was one of the first coffees exported from Ethiopia this year. Harvested in January, received in March. This coffee has been helping to fund a medical center and school in the community where the coffee originates.
Espresso: crema - invokes the color rule and calls the color like the ligher portion of saucers with milk choc flecking, flavors of lemon, silky body, flavors of dark chocolate, and subtle hint of black tea.
Calls time at 15:09.
jams: Talkdemonic (PDX Band), Menomena (PDX Band), Beastie Boys, Boy Eats Drum Machine (PDX Band), Tallest Man on Earth.
Chandler Rentz - Batdorf & Bronson
Showcasing a coffee from Colombia. Walnut & pecan aromatics, bergamot, dried fruit as you sip into the drink. Silky medium mouthfeel, finish
Capps: showcase almond and pecan notes, with hints of citrus still coming thru, nots of the Bergamont.
Sig drink: Heavy cream, added some dried cherry syrup to balance bitterness of dark chocolate, and Earl Grey tea to compliment citrus. Two syrups for 2nd element, a soda made from raisins and dried cherries with sparkling mineral water. Start with
Pete Licata - Honolulu Coffee Co. (SWRBC Champ) (USBC Finalist)
The day of competition rounds out with experienced USBC competitor Pete In the clean-up position.
Pete offers the judges a slide-show to see where the coffee came from on the trees and recommends coffee take notes.
Pete begins with sig drink, honey coffee given in 3 specific tastes representing experiences he’s had bringing this coffee to the comp. Found on big island of Hawaii, 1500 ft. up, picked and pulped in owner’s back yard, and Cascara saved to make a tea. Cured in parchment for three months, and mucilage used in 2nd part of the tea.
Tea is a combination of sweetness, and available sugar from the mucilage, combined with natural acidity and sweetness of coffee from French press. Chocolate complexity, and he introduces two new coffees - a washed and natural processed coffee.
Brown crema ring in capp - toasted grains and malts and caramel sweetness.
Michael Harwood - Carrboro (SERBC Champ)
Michael is using a Caturra variety with lush acidity. El Aguacate by Senior Calderone from the Honduras COE. This coffee won a Good Food Award earlier this year. Slow growth develops coffee’s acidity. First course sig highlights honey sweetness. Freshly squeezed blood orange juice reflects balanced acidity of coffee. Organic rosemary infused into whipped cream canister. Raw honey which tastes a bit like caramel, and zested a blood orange, a simple syrup of honey, extracting a single shot of the coffee. Steamed milk to provide a creamy body. He shares chalkboards with tasting notes for judges.
Capps: blends two roast levels for sparkling acidity, and darker roast for chocolate, caramel and finishing with spice. Foam is like a citrus creme-brulee, toffee in cup.
Espresso: Honeysuckle and citrus aromatics. Asks judges to stir to get those notes, and a nice lingering caramel aftertaste. Cleans and done at 15:00 on the dot.
A brief local news story about Michael is here.
Jams: Liki Li
Jeremy Sterner - Peregrine
Coffee from Bolivia & Burundi. He has names of producers hand-written on his tablecloth. Capps up first. Farmers were bound for the CoE, but the event fell thru. (sad face) Coffee offers notes of sweet nuttiness. 1500-1800 ft, depulped, fermented 12-18 hours. In espressos, he blends the two coffees in the portafilter, calling out the number of grams of each. The red fruit and cherries and clean acidity taste like a washed coffee (even though its a natty).
Sig drink: pulls shots, chill with apple and cherry juice. Flavors from each coffee. Milk infused with almond pastry. Perfectly complimenting each other.
Jacque DesMarais - The Coffee Ethic
Using a blend of Brazil - grapefruit acidity, butterscotch. Ehtiopian - Guat washed bourbon. Brown sugar notes.
Sig beverage prep. Brown sugar.
In capps, malted brown sugar, caramel, hint of chocolate in finish. Juicy red cherry.
Asks judges to incorporate all three flavors in sig drink. Sweetness & acidity from harrar. Brown sugar and cherry notes from Guat. Sweetness from butterscotch and deep chocolate tones from Brazil. Calls time at 15:02.
Park Brannen - Cafe Grumpy
Colombian coffee from Huila by Mr. Rojas. Wet processed, dried on raised beds.
Park is recreating the flavors of the espresso with his signature beverage. An espresso soda, a take on the Manhattan Special (“a New York institution”). Pours soda water with espresso. Asks judges to take a small sip, then large in lime peel to highlight lime flavor in finish of espresso. Swirl a bit and enjoy. Park’s wearing a waistcoat, tie, a heart pinned to his pocket, and a sharp looking tie.
jams: Willie Nelson- city of new orleans, conway twitty-tight fittin’ jeans, The Temptations-the way you do the things you do (dj mix by Amber)
Joe Marrocco - Kaldi’s
Three varietals from Burundi (this one we think), grown around 1880 m. Dazzling, bright, rich, incredibly sweet & complex. Espressos up first, Joe asks judges to analyze color and crema, then give it three stirs, sip once and hold. Lime zest in first sip and asks judges to let it cool a bit, transforms to candied tangerine, zesty grapefruit note. With capps he asks judges to swirl and enjoy aroma. The spice note is hidden, but comes out in the aroma of capps. With creamy, buttery milk, he asks judges to turn the cup and taste from opposite side to get caramely coffee note which unfolds with notes of orange zest and marscapone cheese. Rich. Sweet. Delicious.
Sig drink is last. Uses bananas to create a banana cocktail which is common in Burundi. Milk ties the courses together. He shakes the banana and milk to create a cold, creamy beverage which elevates the bright sweet acidic espresso. Fresh mint leaf on top that leads judges into the beverage and pulls two elements together. Espresso sits underneath and judges enjoy. He finishes a bit over 15 minutes but done and done.
Here’s a great video of Joe talking bout Burundi in a Vimeo video.
Ryan Wilbur - Stumptown
Ethiopia Duromina (not yet available from Stumptown: coming soon). Gives judge a choice of focusing either on citrus/floral of extraction or more syrupy characteristics. Asks judges to chat and choose one of these. Judges choose syrupy.
Choice to change extraction (grinder and machine) to focus on: floral & citrus, or juicy berry. Aromatics of apricot, currants, and citrus like a sweet tangerine.
Serves espressos. Asks judges to evaluate crema as normal, then pause and wait. Take first sip and has them write down something to remind you of that sip. Then they transfer espresso into wine glass, swirl 4-5 seconds to aerate and cool, and taste the coffee closer to body’s temp. “Sip & enjoy.”
This is the first time this coffee is being washed processed. The farm recently added a wet mill with improved infrastructure and lot separation.
Ryan’s sig bev will to construct and deconstruct the espresso. It includes an infusion of currants, tangerine playing on citrus, and apricots playing on jammy fruits. To expand and explode sweetness and acidity of coffee. Early gray tea to mimic the finish of this coffee. Served in a snifter to showcase aromatics.
sip the espresso straight away, no aeration, take espreso sip, then sip infusion, add to sifter, swirl together, then take a sip. cleanse palate with black tea. restore balance
Ryan finishes and calls time at 15:22. “A little tea on the table” and tells Kyle that his coffee is bangin’ today like an Escalade with rims.
jams: Teenage Dream - Katy Perry
Sam Purvis - Coava (NWRBC Champion)
“What is quality?” Sam’s presentation is about five aspects: cappuccino - body & sweetness, sig drink - structure, espresso - clarity. He has a menu on the table that references a small booklet with photos and info about the harvest, roast and processing of the coffee. His coffee is a Geisha from a farm in southern Costa Rica that is doing new quality separation. Producers Ricardo & Gonzola Hernandez. The coffee is small lot and fresh crop and not yet available on the Coava website. Sam has a baby Gesha plant on the table. He talks about how the processing gives this coffee its lush ripe sweetness in the cup. First up capps. First sip has flavors of almond butter, sweetness of milk chocolate. Structure is up next. 1350 m, mild temps, and 9 months to get to maturity. He steeps dark chocolate, blueberries, lavender, and 100 g of milk. Asks judges to notice compatibility of flavors representing the structure of the Gesha.
Intensity & Clarity - marriage of nutrient rich soil and low yielding Gesha plants, coffee is only 3 months off harvest. Espressos served last. Asks judges to let those flavors linger. Calls time at 14:55.
jams: Temper Trap, Kanye West - Amazing, The Frey - Vienna
Sarah Dooley - Olympia/Espresso Parts
Capps first, then espresso. Sarah is using
Simple ingredients and make them fun. Gelatin, red fruit reduction. Egg yolks to compliment silkiness of espresso, whipped with oj, fresh squeezed and pulp removed. She whisks that some gelatin and berry reduction into a charger. Texture is silky. She adds this foam to a martini glass and serves it with the espresso, asking the judges to put the two together. Drizzle a brown sugar simple syrup, stir with a whisk, and enjoy two to three sips. Calls time just at 15:00.
In the post interview, she tells Heather that customers will usually tell you “you’re awesome” while the judges will tell you the truth!
jams: Peter Gabriel - In Your Eyes,
Lorenzo Perkins - Medici
Using an orange bourbon coffee from El Salvador, that is the result of a conversation between Jose Antonia and Aida. Bourbon varietal. Sweet orange acidity, creamy body, jasmine and gardenia on the nose, tangerine on finish. We believe it is this El Molino on the Cuvee website, just three months off patio.
He prepares a white chocolate ganache, adds some tangerine juice, dark chocolate tanzanian chocolate with a raisin like note to counter balance the espresso. Concord grape juice to add depth and complexity and provide a tannic quality to contrast the acidity. Asks judges to start with the white chocolate component, then sip from the espresso.
jams: Get Down On It
more photos coming soon….
There’s a flurry of activity around the competition stage and backstage area. A few highlights from this mornings competitors in this recap of the USBC Semi-Finals. Pics coming shortly. Apologies to any competitors we missed or didn’t get extensive coverage. So. Much. Talent.
Trevor Corlett - Madcap
Smooth and controlled, Trevor made it look easy. Sporting a nice pin-striped shirt, waistcoat, and a sexy tie. Trevor uses a fresh crop Costa Rica Los Lobos that only came to North America weeks ago. The Los Lobos was one of a handful of beautiful coffees used by Coffee Common at TED2011.
Robbie Britt - Olympia Coffee Roasters
Robbie used a Burundi Kiryama roasted by Olympia. His signature drink, served first up, used orange juice, a cream cheese and vanilla cream. Capps had notes of melted carmel ice cream and retained some of the citrus notes of his coffee. He serves his espressos last, thanks the judges for their dedication, and calls time at 15:01. Gray pin-striped shirt, black tie, black vest, and a sweet black hat.
Laila Ghambari - Stumptown
Coffee from two different producers in Costa Rica from the Helsar Reserva. She presents a cupping bowl of coffees for each judge, has them smell the aromatics, judges bending forward at the table. They break the cups and take in the aromatics, then pour the coffees through a cloth filter. Flavors become more distinguished as it cools.
Sig drink infusion: rasperries for fruit notes, rose hips mimics the florals, grapefruit and lime to mirror the coffee’s white-grape acidity.
Espressos up first. Cappuccinos are second and the milk will diminish the acidity a bit, and are reminiscent of your favorite warm flakey pie crust.
Sig drink: three vessels with the same temp and body. Pulls six shots. 1st element: espresso with .5 oz water to expand flavors of espresso with crema removed by pouring out of a glass teapot. Lime & grapefruit. 2nd element: Infusion mirrors flavors of espresso as well as the brewed coffee, creating an easy transition. Wonderful acidity and clean sweetness. 3rd element: Brewed coffee from cupping, representing clean sweetness. Raspberries.
Laila puts down three-part sig drink and calls time at 15:15! Phew! Best training lab ever!
Jams: Bon Iver remix, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun remix, Only You Can Make Me Happy by Au Revoir Simone, Holy Ghost!
David Delchamps - 1000 Faces Coffee
Roasted his own coffee Bobo Link, extended the roasting to highlight sweetness.
Sig drink includes cherry juice and honey. 1000 Faces Coffee
Tyler Stephens - BARISTA
Tyler is a first time USBC competitor and had a strong showing at the NWRBC, making it into finals. (One of the six from NW finals who are all represented in the semi-finals round.) Tyler is using Colombia Progresso by Coava.
He serves a two-parter sig drink that features a warm milk infused with fennel, warm chocolate espresso with a touch of salt.
Row Aczon - Honolulu Coffee Co.
Washed process grown Kona Extra Fancy . He explains how he had broke this coffee down into four characteristics: Aroma, Acidity, Sweetness and Body. In the capps, caramel & butterscotch. Lemons transform to sweet jam, dark cocoa.
Kevin Bohlin - Ritual
Kevin is sporting a slick blue shirt, looking sharp. He’s using a Honduras Finca La Piñona. Powerful enticing aroma, Pacas acidity like fresh pineapple, deep honey sweetness rounding out the edges. Espressos first, then capps, then sig. In milk, flavors of Italian florentine cookie, candied fruits, a touch of chocolate. Kevin found a small hand crank box on the farm used for processing coffee cherries. Simple, direct, complex like the coffee the judges have been tasting.
Sig: Filters crema off of espresso by pouring thru a glass V60 and paper filter. Has judges sip pineapple juce and raw crystalized honey to round the edges off the acidity. Adds sparkling water to enhance effervescence. Kevin finishes at 14:50 and does a post interview with Kyle Glanville. Ritual crew in the crowd goes wild.
Jams: soundtrack by Cut Copy including Hearts on Fire & Feel the Love
Scott Lucey - Alterra
“Wait no longer, I have treats.” Ground sample goes onto table. Colombia Nelson Malo with dried fruit aromatics. Cherry up front, fig & date. Grapefruit Rio Star Texas red, the sweetest of all grapefruit. Capps first: delicacy of coffee, dates like brown butter and caramel. Loves when customers have an “ah-ha” moment. Gives judges a milk sample. Espresso up next. Grapefruit characteristic lingers in aftertaste.
Sig drink has an espresso base with a grapefruit foam on top. Calls time at 14:59!
Jams: remix of Single Ladies by Beyonce, INXS, Kiss by Prince
The preliminary round was over, and now we move onto semi-finals in a very long day that features 26 competitors. Round one Barista Bingo cards are still valid.
Here’s a Semi-Finals Edition card to help you get through the second round.
Haven’t played Barista Bingo before? Mark a square each time a barista uses one of the phrases above, an item appears or is part of a presentation. This can also easily be transformed into a drinking game, replacing “marking a box” with “taking a drink” of ________________ (insert beverage of choice).
The sexy Michael Phillips is our center square and of course a FREE SPACE.
“Pop-it-in-the-Gob” - Choose any four squares
“It becames my passions” - Game Over! Everybody wins.
Semi-Finalists from Round 1, joined by the 6 Regional Champions for the Semi-Finals Round. Top 6 advance to USBC Finals on Sunday.
Already Qualified by winning Regional Competitions
NWRBC Champ: Sam Purvis, Coava - Portland
SWRBC Champ: Pete Licata, Honolulu Coffee - Honolulu
SCRBC Champ: Joe Morrocco, Kaldi’s - St. Louis
SERBC Champ: Michael Harwood, Carrboro - North Carolina
NCRBC Champ: Ryan Knapp, Madcap - Grand Rapids, MI
NERBC Champ: Philip Search, Dalis Bros - Queens, NY
Joined by the twenty first round competitors who had the highest scores, in alpha order:
Chandler Rentz, Batdorf - Atlanta
David Delchamps, 1000 Faces Coffee - Athens, GA
Devin Chapman, Coava - Portland
Ian Levine, Verve - Santa Cruz
Jacque DesMarais, The Coffee Ethic - Springfield, MO
Jared Truby, Verve - Santa Cruz
Jeremy Sterner, Peregrine Espresso - Wash D.C.
Kevin Bohlin, Ritual - SF
Laila Ghambari, Stumptown - Seattle
Lorenzo Perkins, Caffe Medici - Austin
Nicole Call, Kaldi’s - St. Louis
Nikolas Krankl, Gelato Bar & Espresso Coffee- Studio City, CA
Park Brannen, Cafe Grumpy - Brooklyn
Robbie Britt, Espresso Parts - Olympia, WA
Row Aczon - Honolulu Coffee Co - Honolulu
Ryan Wilbur, Stumpwon - Portland
Sarah Dooley, Espresso Parts & Olympia Coffee Co. - Olympia, WA
Scott Lucey, Alteraa - Milwaukee
Tyler Stevens, BARISTA - Portland
Trevor Corlett, MadCap Coffee - Grand Rapids
Competitors say and do cute things in competitions. To help you get through all 38+25+6=69 rounds, here’s a Houston Edition USBC Bingo card. (Inspired by ones we’ve seen in the past, with some current barista buzz-words.)
How to play:
Version 1 - Standard Game Play
Each time a competitor (or emcee) utters one of the phrases (or does the thing indicated), mark that box with an X. You can play from the USBC audience, or play along at home with the live stream. Challenge your friends to see who can get the first Bingo in any given round. We’ve given you the adorable WBC Champ Mike Phillips is a FREE space to get you started.
Version 2 - Drinking Bingo
Same as above, except instead of just putting an X in the box, you have to take a drink of your favorite beverage (coffee, root beer, milk, water (still or sparkling), beer (microbrew’s only please), whiskey, tea, fruit juice, wine, kombucha, or strawberry milk shake). Drink until you can’t drink no more. In this version, everybody winz!
If you can’t see the image above, try this link:
Thursday April 28
All times are approximate. Check the live-stream to see who’s on, then adjust accordingly.
All times CDT - Houston, TX, USA
Comp Time - Comp Number. Barista, Company - City
11:15 - 1. Stephen Schuh, Kaldis’s - St Louis
11:25 - 2. Chandler Rentz, Batdorf - Atlanta
11:55 - 3. Row Aczon - Honolulu Coffee Co - Honolulu
12:15 - 4. Laila Ghambaris, Stumptown - Seattle
12:35- 5. Park Brannen, Cafe Grumpy - Brooklyn
12:50 - 6. Samueal Brown, Alterra - Milwaukee
1:10 - 7. Adrienne Kist, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf - Glenadale, AZ
1:30 - 8. David Delchamps, 1000 Faces Coffee - Athens, GA
1:50 - 9. Jenna White, Caffe Medici - Austin
2:10 - 10. Tyler Stevens, BARISTA - Portland
2:30 - 11. Trevor Corlett, MadCap Coffee - Grand Rapids
2:45 - 12. Ryan Wilbur, Stumpwon - Portland
3:05 - 13. Joshua Flail, Octane - Atlanta
3:25 - 14. Jeremy Sterner, Peregrine Espresso - Wash D.C.
3:45 - 15. Scott Lucey, Alteraa - Milwaukee
4:00 - 16. Jonathan Aldrich, Caffe Medici - Austin
4:20 - 17. Nicole Call, Kaldi’s - St. Louis
Friday April 29
10:15 - 18. Kevin Bohlin, Ritual - SF
10:35 - 19. Lorenzo Perkins, Caffe Medici - Austin
10:55 - 20. Brandon Duff, RBC NYC - NYC
11:15 - 21. Devin Chapman, Coava - Portland
11:30 - 22. Ian Levine, Verve - Santa Cruz
11:55 - 23. K. Linsey Kiser, Peregrine - Wash D.C.
12:10 - 24. Eden Marie Abramowicz, Independent - Atlanta
12:30 - 25. Chang Yu, Independent - Organe, CA
12:50 - 26. Paul Halvorsen, Remedy - Oakland
1:10 - 27. Nikolas Krankl, Gelato Bar & Espresso Coffee- Studio City, CA
1:30 - 28. Jared Truby, Verve - Santa Cruz
1:45 - 29. Robbie Britt, Espresso Parts - Olympia, WA
2:05 - 30. Daniel Reed, Houndstooth - Austin
2:25 - 31. Sarah Dooley, Espresso Parts & Olympia Coffee Co. - Olympia, WA
2:45 - 32. Sam Penix - Everyman Espresso - NYC
3:00 - 33. Jacque DesMarais, The Coffee Ethic - Springfield, MO
3:20 - 34. Cody Kinart, Alterra - Milwaukee
3:40 - 35. Jessica Brooks, Allegro - Denver
4:00 - 36. Sarah Peterson, Verve - Santa Cruz
4:20 - 37. Mike Jones, Third Rail - NYC
4:40 - 38. Joseph Palozzi, Kobrick’s - Jersey City, NJ
registered competitors as of Tuesday, April 26. list subject to change.
1. Michael Phillips, Intelligentsia Chicago - 701.5
2. Chris Baca, Verve Santa Cruz, CA - 671.5
3. Devin Pedde, Intelligentsia Los Angeles - 646.5
4. Sarah Peterson, Verve Santa Cruz, CA - 639
5. Charles Babinski, Intelligentsia Chicago - 625.5
6. Mike Marquard, Kaldi’s Coffee Co. St. Louis- MO 614.5
SEMI FINALS ROUND
1. Chris Baca, Verve - 709.5
2. Michael Phillips, Intelli - 707
3. Mike Marquard, Kaldi’s - 644.5
4. Sarah Peterson, Verve - 642
5. Charles Babinski, Intelli - 642
6. Devin Pedde, Intelli - 641.5
7. Pete Licata, Honolulu Coffee Co. - 639.5
8. Ryan Knapp, MadCap - 622
9. Lorenzo Perkins, Cafe Medici - 620.5
10. Ryan Wilbur, Intelli - 617.5
11. Trevor Corlett, MadCap Coffee - 615
12. Nikolas Krankl, Taste Coffeehouse - 607
13. Jared Truby, Verve - 607
14. Scott Lucey, Alterra Coffee Roasters - 599
15. Robin Seitz, PT’s Coffee Co. - 593
16. Jordan Barber, Café Grumpy - 590.5
17. Lem Butler, Counter Culture Coffee - 580
18. Andrew Milstead, Urban Coffee Lounge - 555
19. Jeremy Sterner, Peregrine Espresso - 544
20. Danielle Glasky, Stumptown - 539
21. Jesse Bladyka, Coal Creek Coffee Co. - 538.5
22. Joe Marrocco, Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Co. - 529.5
23. Greg Lefcourt, Ozo Coffee - 528.5
24. Tyler Wells, FRANK - 529.5
25. Laila Ghambari, BARISTA - 493.5
A couple notes:
- Don’t comprare scores between rounds (or between competitions) too much. The purpose of, and judging approach to each round is slightly different. Also in the finals round, the judges don’t change to provide the highest level of calibration.
- Michael won by quite a few points (30 fat points). He was clearly the winner.
- Chris Baca noted that “Michael’s espresso was one of the most amazing shots he’s tasted in a long time” and probably the best he had at the SCAA.
- A score of 701.5 is a bit low for a USBC finals. He left 168.5 points on the table somehow. Not sure what else those judges wanted him to do!
- There’s been a trend that continues, that the competitor with the highest score in the semi-final’s round doesn’t win. This trend carries over to the WBC, and has been the case for a few year’s running.
For the round one standings, there’s a PDF file of all three rounds available at http://usbaristachampionship.org/
You have 67 days until WBC London. Get to work!
In the final spot is another seasoned pro. He wants to talk a little about what he’s been up to lately. Looking at one coffee through many different lenses. Exploring brewing parameters and getting different tastes from one coffee. He’s got one lot from one farm, called Cidra. He’s ground it, added water to it, and gotten to know it as much as he can. He’s wearing a blue shirt, sleeves rolled up, and a stylin’ waistcoat.
He’s got two ways of brewing: silky, tangerine, and fruit punch finish, or rich, apricot and deep sweetness. He asks the judges to chat and choose one of those. Choose your own adventure. This time he tells the judges a bit about the two, which is a new touch for the finals round.
He tells them the espresso will be hazelnut, dark brown and reddish reflection. He’s going to updose the coffee to match the flavor profile that the judges just chose.
Loads of apricot in the front, sweet lime acidity, and finish of apricot in dried form that will stick with you a little bit. Consume the whole thing and swirl before you drink.
He moves onto some sig drink prep. He heats a little apricot with a muscovado sugar. To some yogurt, he adds some blood orange juice for mouthfeel and explains this will coat the palate.
He lays down first two capps and explains that “Its so delicious, you’ll wish it came in a 20 oz. size.” Ha! Pours tableside. Finca Matalapa, El Salvador, one of his favorite producers. Clean and delicious coffee that punches through in the capp. Mango, apricot smoothie.
On to sig construction. Apricot goes in the bottom of the glasses. These elements are just adding to the flavors that are already in the coffee. Mimicking the texture and mouthfeel is the yogurt with blood orange juice added allowing the espresso flavors to carry forth as it drapes ever-so-delicately across the palate. 11:30 and he goes to extract those shots.
He adds the shots on top, serves them up, and asks the judges to stir before taking a sip.
Devin explains that the articulation of coffees is amazing. A few years ago Devin was just learning that coffees from different countries tasted different. Now that he’s exploring the way one coffee can have such different and complex tastes, he feels that it is finally demonstrating that coffee is advanced enough to take a long-overdue seat in the culinary world. Calls time and done at 14:45.
Post interview with Morrissey and Vick: its been a challenge to top himself each time he competes. He feels good about the choice the judge’s made. His favorite way to brew this coffee is as a pour-over. He thanks his roasters, Deaton and Steve Lee, and all the people who helped him prepare for this competition.
He’s BAAAAAAACK. He won the GLRBC, and now landed back in the finals.
Three coffees from Costa Rica. He’s gonna move fast. Similar elevation. Same varietals. They’re all incredibly fresh, three months off the patio, the definition of fresh coffee. All come from Doda Valley in Terrazu region.
Three different roast levels, three different dose and extraction times.
First up, washed processed coffee as an espresso. Lowest dose, fastest extraction, sparkling mouthfeel, slightly lighter than reddish-brown crema. Three extractions, sets one aside for the signature drink. He loads and tamps three pf’s using a doserless Robur.
Asks judges to look for tart cherry and lime sweetness. Light juicy body and sparkling mouthfeel. He pulls the hopper off and switches out the coffee in one of two grinders. Wow.
Onto his capps. Honey proccessed coffee is all sweetness and body which fits perfectly with the cappuccino. 4:30 in and he’s changing the dosing style for these drinks. Honey processed is taking the cherry skin off and leaving the mucilage entact which creates a full body and intense sweetness. He worked with the roasters to find the best roast profile. Graham cracker notes that drip down into peanut butter in the capps.
At this coop, they are redefining what it means to be a cooperative. They have two cafes. He visited the farm a few months ago to work with some baristas, and asked them to have coffees ready for him to try. He was amazed.
The third coffee is part of the signature drink, he’s going to use all three coffees side-by-side. He skimmed the crema off the first extraction and adds to mineral water. The second coffee mixes with a date reduction and sugar. Ginger and rhubarb reduction that he will pull a shot of the third coffee on top of. He’s going quick and its crazy trying to keep up with Mike and all this great coffee info.
He asks judges to start with the washed processed. Then swirl the honey processed taste, and give it a vigorous swirl with the date reduction. Then he takes the hot and spicy full natural and asks them to take one long slow sip and enjoy and get the ginger on the nose.
Sig course down at 14:25. He cleans up and organizes. Finishes with a thank you and talks about the connection between barista, farmers and roasters and calls “time” as the clock ticks to 15:00 even. Big cheers from the crowd.
Post interview with Morrissey who has his “heart in his mouth” because of the finish. He talks about his trip to Costa Rica, and how he came up with the idea to skim the crema. Mike makes some shots for the crowd while we wait for Devin.
Does Mike have a few minutes left as US Champ, or a whole entire year???
He’s ready and so are the judges. White shirt, black tie, pin-stripe waistcoat, and a cap. Hits the Red Star (for go?), stop, drop & roll.
He loves comp and always looks forward to this time of year. Everything takes a back seat to one very, special coffee. Its a Panama Elida, cattui, from Boquete.
The first thing that struck Chris was the incredible sweetness and juicy character. The flavor he associated most was fresh strawberry, so he has a reduction for the judges. Simple, juice, and sweet. The Elida has a multi-dimensional personality, a lingering finish of bittersweet chocolate that sits on his tongue. The second component of the drink is a creme anglaise infused with a 70 percent dark chocolate which mimics the finish of the Elida. Sits heavy on the tongue. The flavors are a roadmap to Elida’s personality. He’s gonna add espresso, and serve sig course first, so “all of you can finally meet Elida.”
He packs all three portafilters and pulls six shots at 4:15 in. Six drinks on a tray, to the table. The crema is beautiful, dark brown hazelnut tones, quite bubbly due to roast profile that gives it an effervescent quality. He squeezes an orange rind through a flame to top each drink. He made a drink for himself and one for Scott the Head Judge. Baca has specific instructions and will take them thru it. Gentle stirs around the top. Drink in three even sips, each revealing something different. One small sip off top, nice natural sweetness from coffee. Next sip, more Elida, bitersweet chocolate, nice finish. Third sip, sweet strawberry SNAP. Well explained and presented? Could be 6’s.
Goes to work on espressos at 7:15 in. Espressos down, asks judges to stir. Juicy sweet and lingering strawberry finish.
Capps down and talks about Wilford Lamastus. The farm has been in the family for 3 generations. Baca has been able to communicate directly with the producer which has been life changing. Two capps poured tableside. 11:05 and only 2 capps left to make. He is flying.
Robert Lamastus (Wilford’s grandfather) moved to Panama in the early 1900’s to work on the Panama Canal. He met a woman named Elida, who he later married. Their 5 children were born on the estate. Wilford has lived there his whole life. All drinks down with over 90 seconds to spare. He cleans up a bunch, gives judges time to taste, then wraps up. Getting to know the Elida has taught him never to miss a chance to share coffee with as many people as possible. Anything you do or say at any time has the potential to affect someone. 29 year old barista from California. Thank you for watching. Time! 14:52 and he’s glowing. What a pro!
In post, Baca talks about judging and the different competition styles. Says he doesn’t look at the score sheet too much and he is excited about coffee, and as a production barista, he just lets the coffee “do it’s thang.” The 15 minutes is an opportunity to give a presentation about the coffee. Worst thing: dishes. Best thing: sharing sick coffees with the peeps.
Mike’s table has a yellow tablecloth and some bright blue cups. He’s wearin’ a smart shirt and a white tie and waistcoat.
“Variety is the spice of life.” He wants to spend the next 15 minutes convincing otherwise. He says that variety is actually a detractor from quality. So many choice.
He’s using a Colombia Monserrate from Huila imported by Atlas. Grown at 1700m, grown by Oscar. Each farmer will pick and wash their own coffee and have it judges. Mike judged that competition last year. Dark berry, lemon acidity, lemon mouthfeel and body, cashew finish.
He puts on a single glove so he doesn’t burn his hand on the hot portafilter when he’s holding it. He uses a doserless Robur and pulls all four shots at the same time. 3:30 in. Demi’s go onto a tray and to the table. “Oscar’s espresso. Tart dark berry, bakers cocoa, effervescent body, cashew at the end.” Judges to go work and he’s off onto his next course at 4:10. Capps up next.
Compromise is viewed as a glorious solution. But its a lose-lose. When we’re willing to compromise, we’re only left with variety. What we need to seek instead is collaboration which is a win-win. Both the customer and barista get what we want. The capp is a collaboration between coffee and milk. Chocolate milkshake flavor, caramel mint, classic flavor. He pour tableside and at 6:30 in goes to work on second set.
Two areas where we can better collaborate. First is language. When we ask customers to find bergamont in a coffee, they’re not familiar and might be uncomfortable and intimidated. We need to improve the types of examples we use when customers take an interest. Mike will focus on those in the sig beverage. Second set of capps down and he goes to work on sig course. 8:45 in.
Pulls shots into shot glasses and a stainless pitcher. He adds all four shots to the pitcher and takes a tray to the judges. Each judge gets two drinks. First drink is an analogy for variety and compromise. Second is a collaboration. Asks judges to flip over yellow card to find a long list of descriptors for Oscar’s espresso. This list is exhaustive for customers, so he picked the four most common taste characteristics. Lemon cream, chocolate, sweetened condensed milk. Want you to realize two things, balance and collaboration.
He uses a community lot from Monseratte, and adds four shots to grounds, and 2 oz of hot water into an Aeropress. He stirs and lets it infuse.
Talks about the 59 farmers in Monseratte who have risen out of poverty and worked together to achieve success and transparency.
Blue card has four words: Welcoming, electric, soft and lingering. The coffee experience is emotional as well as sensory. The words aren’t too simple or too smart. We need to create memorable coffee experiences. He’s re-infusing which is a “faux-pas” in our industry. No need to stir, just enjoy. He pours the brew into four blue demis and serves them up next to a lemon peel and he’s done. He calls time at 15:03.
Like Charles, he talked all throughout the presentation and dropped a lot of info on those judges. Wow.
In post interview, he talks about the post by James Hoffman about the Mypressi. Mike works with Kaldi’s in St. Louis, named by GQ Magazine as one of the top 10 roasters in the US as they do Intelligentsia and Verve. (Does GQ call the shots at the USBC?)
C-Babs snaps into competition mode and asks the judges to imagine the table is a coffee farm.
The coffee at one end tastes of fig. Go 1k over and 150m up, marshmallows, a little bit higher, lime. What is the difference between these three lots that creates three distinct flavor profiles?
El Salvador Matalapa, located right on the pacific coast. Each lot represents a different part of the farm. I can’t tell you why they taste the way they do, but through brewing I can give them context. Charles brews a V60 pour over for the judges of the Cidra.
The Matalipita is grown a bit lower than the Cidra.
The Cidra is grown at 1250 meters. He explains it has sweet clean lime and a cranberry tartness. A lighter roast and a lighter copper color. Silky clean, low viscosity.
At 3:35 in, he pumps the music up and goes to work on brewing his espressos. He dances a little. Reminds judges to look for clean sweet lime and silky mouthfeel. Asks judges to sip before stirring. Notice silky mouthfeel (again) and cleanliness in the cup.
He brews an EvaSolo of the Cidra. Lime and cranberry softens out and becomes more pillowy. He serves a taste of the brew and goes to work on his capps. 6:45 in and he’s flying thru. He dances a little while steaming his milk. Back to the table with cups and pitchers in hand. Pours capps, tells judges it has pillowy marshmallow sweetness, brown butter and all spice in finish.
He has two roasts - 5 and a 10 days out. 5 is all sweetness, 10 is pop and verve. (Verve shout out?)
Santa Ana winds off the Pacific are important to the harvest, have worn down all the leaves, less shade, more direct sun, and quicker ripening. So many variables, which one is most important? Elevation? Sun?
He brings a tray of ingredients over and beings on sig at 11:10. Two qualities that make the coffees stand out, high altitude and quick ripening. At 1100 meters is the 3rd lot, Puerta Zapa. This lot is all fig, toffee, and spicy goodness. Sig drink is a celebration of all the flavors on the farm. Taking farm off the table and into the cup. First, a lime custard into the glasses. Clean sweet lime is the matalapita. For the cidra, he has a marshmallow cream that he mixes with the V60 and Cafe Solo brew. He adds that layer to the glasses. He will pull the puerta zapa on top. 13:10 and he’s pulling shots. Flying thru, so much info. How can the judges keep up?
Gives the judges instructions, 3 sips. Soft tilt to get the espresso. Next sip is transitioning, cool and creamy on the bottom to get an onrush of sweetness. Take it all back and enjoy that lime.
He wraps up and calls time at 15:03. Phew, we’re exhausted. That was crazy fast and so much info.
Sarah describes her coffee as “springtime” and “yellow.” Notes of citrus, tropical fruit and warm spices in the espresso. She tells judges the roast profile is lighter than what they might be used to, and the color of the shots may be lighter, like caramel candy. Silky delicate mouthfeel.
She asks the judges to take aromatics from ground samples, candied lemon & lime peel with notes of jasmine.
Serves espressos first, then goes right to work on capps. She brings the first two caps tableside to pour. “Citrus and cream is a classic culinary combination. Meyer lemon mixes with sweet creaminess of milk to make an irresistable cappuccino. Reminds me of biting into a piece of warm, buttery, softly-spiced lemon pound cake. Drink through the farm to be rewarded with a slight hint of milk chocolate.”
Buttery mouthfeel, lingering spices on the palate.
6:00 min in and working on 2nd set of capps. Tableside pour again. Coffee was purchased through the first year of the ECX. She can’t share as much about farm as a result. They bought it because of the clarity in the cup and the natural flavors which are classic for a Yirg. They call it “Lomi” which means lemon in Arabic. She talks about the hope for the EXC and what may happen this year in Ethiopia and traceability.
She stars on building sig course. She wants to highlight the sparkling acidity of the coffee. She squeezes a meyer lemon, adds it to a syrup made from candied ginger and cooking it with sugar and water. She gives the judges a “whimsical” taster of this homemade ginger lemonade by adding sparkling water. She asks the judges to wait for the rest of the course and brings a caramel syrup to the table.
Next she creates a base for the espresso. She prepares a con panna with a fun little twist. Organic cream whipped with sugar, and adds a lemon caramel with a little bit of sea salt. Caramel is made with butter and sugar and cooked down. The intense sweetness and buttery texture is reminscent of what you experience in the capp. The lemon is an obvious choice, and the salt brings out the sweetness in the cream and the espresso. Garnish with citrus infused chocolate. 11:50 and she goes to pull shots. Back to the table… This course represents balance between simplicity and sophistication. Uses minimal ingredients and the best sugar and citrus she could find. She wanted to create something approachable that could be created in a cafe. Appeals to novice coffee drinkers as well as a sophisticated palate.
Eat the lemon caramel off the spoon, sip thru the whipped cream, then sip the lemon gingerale.
14:46 and her drinks are down. She cleans up, says it’s been a pleasure, and calls time.
Such a pro. Our only female finalist. She rocked it. Throws a high-five to Heather and seems to be on high. Her excitement is infectious.
She says training with Jared and Chris is like party-time, all the time. “Make it rain.” She also calls her coffee SPWTP - Sara Peterson Wants to Party.