Welcome to our recap coverage of the 2014 Big Eastern Regional Barista Competition. It is our pleasure and privilege to serve as official media sponsors throughout the 2014 United States Barista Championship season, in association with the Speciality Coffee Association of America.
This coverage is made possible by direct support from Dallis Bros. Coffee and Counter Culture Coffee. The entirety of our 2014 competition coverage – regional, nationals, and the 2014 World Barista Championship – is anchored by the direct support of Nuova Simonelli, whose Aurelia T3 serves as the official espresso machine of the USBC and WBC.
Enjoy this short film produced in partnership with Sprudge by Prima Coffee.
All photos by Charlie Burt for Sprudge.com. All notes culled via our @SprudgeLive Twitter coverage – follow @SprudgeLive for the very best in competition coverage, all season long, leading up to the 2014 World Barista Championship in Rimini, Italy.
The first competitor of the day is also a first-time competitor, something we’ve seen a lot of this week her at #BIGEASTERN.
This routine starts with a quote: “I think being accessible is one of the most important aspects of speciality coffee.” He’s competing using Intelligentsia Coffee’s Colombia La Tolima, which presents “caramel sweetness, orange acidity, & minerality in the mouthfeel.”
Mr. Cox plays it safe with his signature beverage, presented his judges a drink made with milk, espresso, orange oil and perfectly cubed ice.
Mr. Bonanno competes at #BIGEASTERN using a naturally processed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee. Most “yirgs” (as they’re often called) are washed; naturally processing is still somewhat rare in this part of Ethiopia. But do you know where natural processing is the opposite of rare? At Big Eastern, where more competitors are using natural processed coffees than ever before at a competition. Are you unsure what “natural processing” means? Click here.
Texture is a running theme in this routine, including in Mr. Bonanno’s capp course – judges are instructed to visually evaluate, then allow the capps to sit briefly, changing the texture of the milk foam.
Sig drink: a charged cherry Kochere cola! Let’s break that down. He’s combining espresso from the Kochere region of Ethiopia, orange zest, burnt sugar, and Co2 to make a kind of coffee soda, then adding cherries that have also been charged with Co2 for a little extra pop.
“I’m a goof. I’m a Goofy McGooferson. So be prepared.” – a bit of candid honesty from Micahel Corrigan.
This routine had the hands-down best soundtrack and conceit of the weekend: a riff on classic diner culture, complete with repurposed LP sleeves for place setting, classic oldies like “Yakkity Yak” and “Spanish Harlem”, and even Mr. Corrigan himself, clad in a soda jerk apron and drive-thru paper cap. Delightful.
The diner theme extends into his sig drink, of course, which is kind of a simple riff on a classic float – espresso, ice cream, and soda water.
Camila Ramos is your 2014 South East Regional Barista Competition champion! Read all about her winning routine in this exclusive, in-depth feature.
“Let’s do our part as coffee lovers to honor quality.”- Hadassah Wilson, with an appeal to why great coffee sometimes costs a little more.
Microphone problems early on make it hard to hear which coffee she’s using, but we know Ms. Wilson to be a fixture at these competitions over the years, as a volunteer and judge. This is her first performance, and it’s set to some heavy hustle hip hop.
Ms. Wilson’s espresso has notes of “ripe nectarine and lingering cocoa”, which she pulls out even further in her signature beverage, comprised of shots pulled over cane sugar with citrus zest, a clove infusion, and tonic water, all served over perfectly spherified ice balls.
Mr. Gelletly competes using @reanimatorphila‘s roast of a very special Guatemalan microlot, comprised of Gesha variety coffee grown in the Acatenango region.
Nice capp notes: “honeysuckle and bread.” As an espresso, the coffee has “bittersweet walnut in the finish.”
Really interesting signature drink here, a riff on amaros and bitter Euorpean liquors, using ingredients like raw honey, tartaric acid steeped with grapefruit, and non-alcoholic black walnut bitters.
J. Park Brannen is your 2014 South East Regional Barista Competition champion! Read all about his routine in this exclusive, in-depth feature.
Mr. Enis competes using a Catuai microlot from the Las Flores region of Honduras, marked as Queen Bee Espresso #5: Lennon. As an espresso, this coffee tasted ” harmonious: hypersweet characteristic up front, meyer lemon, tart cherry, milk choclate & buttery finish.”
Capp notes: “milk chocolate on the front, sweet black cherry, warm & buttery finish.” Signature drink: espresso, homemade grenadine, and sparkling water.
For his signature drink, Nathan Nerswick keeps playing with dessert elements, using ingredients like brown sugar, ground cloves, and cascara tea to create a drink with notes of “gingerbread and Amaretto.”
28. Luis Colon, Fuego Coffee Roasters, Rochester, NY
Mr. Colon competes using a natural Ethiopian Kochere, brought into the US by @cafeimports, who are returning this year to host their annual origin trip prize for all regional barista competition winners.
People in Rochester are cocktail enthusiasts. We saw it on day one from an earlier competitor, and Mr. Colon’s routine is similarly cocktail-focused, from the bartener’s kit to the stirring pitchers to the gleaming chrome ice bucket up on stage.
Quoth Luis Colon: “”In Rochester, New York, we love cocktails.”
Mr. Colon was disqualified due to exceeding his 16 minute time limit.
The word going around Big Eatern is that Michael Butterworth traveled to Houston prior to this event, in order to train with the team at Blacksmith Coffee.
Kind of really into this soundtrack, comprised of a 50/50 blend of Simon & Garfunkel varieties.
This was a super interesting routine, if a bit unexpected from the first-timer out of Louisville. His signature drink looked at “espresso through the lens of Turkish coffee,” from Turkish cups to an ingredient set meant to mimic Turkish Delight. Mr. Butterworths’ ingredient set included Kentucky wildflower honey, kentucky limestone water, a “Turkish teaspoon” of walnut, and rose water. His was without a doubt one of the weekend’s most carefully considered and interesting signature drinks.
Mr. Littlefield was the only direct Intelligentsia employee to compete this weekend at the #BIGEASTERN Barista Competition – he did so with the roaster’s Colombia Tolima espresso., a caturra / castillo variety.
This is Mr. Littlefield’s second appearance at competition. He appears technically composed and on his game on stage, if slightly reserved about the whole thing.
Sig drink: citrus & orange zest, caramel, buttermilk in a tea pot, shots pulled directly on top.
Alternate glassware abounds in this routine! Mr. Corlett serves his capps in a brandy glass, for an experience that creates “aromatics of toffee” and “flavors of vanilla & milk chocolate.” Later he’ll serve his espressos in a brandy snifter as well.
Tangerine and carrot juice, muscovado simple syrup, and espresso in Mr. Corlett’s signature drink.
“It’s not hard to love coffee.” – Mattthew Bryce.
Mr. Bryce competes at Big Eastern using a Kenyan coffee – kind of a rarity this weekend – with dominant notes of blackberries and jasmine. For his cappuccinos, the coffee tastes of “lots of chocolates, lots of blackberries” and for his signature drink, he utilizes ingredients like blackberries, jasmine tea, and orange blossom honey.
In full deadpan: “This coffee was roasted by Counter Culture – I think it’s delicious. Good job, Counter Culture.”
“Cappuccinos are formulated to be biologically delicious.” – Patricia Bruce.
A complex signature drink here from Ms. Bruce: cacao and shade grown coffee honey, clementine oranges, quinine bark powder, allspice, and lime.
Mr. von Arx’s sig drink includes homemade almond milk whipped cream, placed on Chinese soup spoons and served over espresso w/ orange rind.
This routine was declared a do-over due to a previously undeclared professional conflict involving one oF Mr. Search’s judges. Look for a recap on Phillip Search’s routine in our Day Three round up.
Cool espresso notes from @mwm_411 – ” “like biting into a tart granny apple, honey like sensation, bittersweet chocolate.” His capp notes are great too: “homemade caramel and milk chocolate.”
I think that if your name is Maurice, then “Space Cowboy” becomes like a default all-purpose theme song, right?
“I love the baristas behind the craft who are taking coffee to new heights.” – Katie Rant.
Katie Rant competes using a Counter Culture Ethiopia Yirgacheffe coffee. Her espressos have notes of “sweet honey, midtones of lemongrass, a citrus burst and a silky body.” Her cappuccinos taste like “honeysuckle cream…with a sweet, silky, velvety body.”
Sig drink: espressso combined with hibiscus tea, peach cane syrup, and pure maple. “We’re all gonna share this out of the same carafe, kind of like a tea party.”