2015 Big Central Barista Competition Day Three Recap

SprudgeLive’s coverage of the 2015 Big Central Regional Barista Competition is made possible by direct support from the event’s hosts, Wilbur Curtis Company and Cafe Imports. All of SprudgeLive’s 2015 barista competition coverage is underwritten in partnership with Square

We’re proud to serve as official media partners of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

This is a recap of Day Three action at the 2015 Big Central Barista Competition in Minneapolis, Minnesota, happening November 7th-9th, 2014.

All photos are by Sprudge co-founder Zachary Carlsen for Sprudge.com. Want to use these photos? Please email us! 

Information is compiled from the @SprudgeLive livetweet feed, as called by Sprudge co-founder Jordan Michelman.

31. Trevor GruehnKickapoo Coffee, Madison, WI @thuglife4000 @kickapoocoffee

Big Central Trevor Gruehn Kickapoo Coffee Madison WI 064

Mr. Gruehn competes here at with a coffee from Colombia’s Fondo Paez cooperative, roasted by Kickapoo Coffee. Learn more, take some home.

Capp notes for Mr. Gruehn: “warm ceral milk, like cornflakes…date-like sweetness, muted citrus acidity.”

As an update from previous year’s competition notes: his Twitter handle remains incongruous.

Fruit acidity these Fondo Paez espressos — “kind of citric, kind of mallic…tastes like lime and fresh plum pluots.”

Big Central Trevor Gruehn Kickapoo Coffee Madison WI 035

Sig drink: cinchona syrup, sweet almond oil, phosphoric acid, Topo Chico, espresso, lime mist.

Trevor Gruehn calls time at 14:55.

32. Kimberly MusteenSpyhouse Coffee Roasters, Minneapolis @spyhousecoffee

Big Central Kimberly Musteen Spyhouse Coffee Roasters Minneapolis 117

“Dark chocolate sweetness, hint of nut, and a citrus acidity” in Kimberly Musteen’s espressos, made from Lo Mejor de Mexico #3 — learn more here via Cafe Imports.

As a cappuccino this Mexican coffee’s got “milk chocolate, citrus acidity, and walnut.”

Sig drink for Kimberly Musteen includes mesquite wood smoked glasses (shades of Laila Ghambari’s 2014 USBC winning routine).

There’s a blowtorch on stage here, people. We’ve achieved peak blowtorch.

Big Central Kimberly Musteen Spyhouse Coffee Roasters Minneapolis 042

Unfortunately Kimberly Musteen has passed her 16 minute limit, becoming our 4th DQ of the weekend at , split evenly between the North and South Central divisions.

33. James GibbsLa Colombe Coffee, Chicago @lacolombecoffee

Big Central James Gibbs La Colombe Coffee Chicago 055

“I find beauty in good taste.” — James Gibbs.

It’s a washed Nicaraguan coffee from Mr. Gibbs and here at — hailing from the Nueva Segovia region, the coffee is grown at Finca El Diamante and is comprised of 100% caturra variety, “prized for its high yield, bright acidity & clean taste.”

“Lavender & raisin notes” in Mr. Gibbs’ cappuccinos, made with Kalona SuperNatural milk.

Sig drink for Mr. Gibbs: almond milk, honey, espresso, cherry/raisin/apple compote, and lavender ice cream pearls–like a molecular gastro apple pie ice cream espressso drink, basically.

Big Central James Gibbs La Colombe Coffee Chicago 077

James Gibbs calls time at 15:04.

34. Aaron ClarkCoffea Roasterie, Sioux Falls, SD @aaronclark_ @coffea

Big Central  Aaron Clark Coffea Roasterie Sioux Falls SD 006

“What is accessibility for specialty coffee?” — Aaron Clark.

Mr. Clark competes using an Ethiopian Chelelektu — learn more, take some home.

“Cappuccinos create a common ground between espresso-only baristas & customers who enjoy sweeter drinks.” — Aaron Clark.

Sig drink: orange peel, cooled espresso, milk, spun honey syrup, reduced black currant jam, ice.

Big Central  Aaron Clark Coffea Roasterie Sioux Falls SD 106

Mr. Clark calls time at 15:03, which is very impressive considering he had to re-pull a set of espressos earlier in his routine. This caps a strong showing from Coffea Roasterie at the Big Central (their other competitor, Bryan Kegley, competed on Day 2).

35. Patrick BurnsPalace Coffee Co., Amarillo, TX @patrickburns1 @palacecoffee

Big Central Patrick Burns Palace Coffee Co. Amarillo TX 005

This routine from Mr. Burns is kind of a love letter to the farmer / importers at Ninety Plus, and the company’s founder, Joseph Brodsky. He’s serving up one of their Ethiopian natural espressos, which as espresso has a “cardamom aroma, cocoa backbone, and the acidity of grapes.”

“Extremely creamy, with a nice long linger’ for these cappuccinos. Judges are asked to stir after evaluating foam. These drinks taste like “strawberry and chocolate Whoppers with an almond note on the finish.”

Big Central Patrick Burns Palace Coffee Co. Amarillo TX 021

Mr. Burns‘ signature drink includes elderberry syrup, coconut cream, cardamom tea and coconut palm sugar.

Patrick Burns calls time at 15:04.