US Barista Championship Austin Qualifying Event, Day One

Good afternoon from beautiful Austin, Texas! Sprudge Media Network is pleased to bring you this day one barista competition coverage of the Knoxville qualifying competitions for the 2017 U.S Coffee Championships. Coverage comes to you live from Austin, produced by Zac Cadwalader with photography by Charlie Burt and Elizabeth Chai. Follow us @SprudgeLive on Twitter for live tweet coverage of the barista competition all weekend long, and follow @Sprudge on Instagram and Facebook for reporting from around the event.’s coverage of the 2017 US Coffee Champs is made possible by Urnex Brands and Nuova Simonelli.

Hello from glorious Austin! is getting underway here in an hour or so. Stay tuned for all the live action!

If you’re trying to find , it’s past the Dance Moms recital. Barista performances aren’t THAT lit. Not enough sequins.

D.C. Choi, Eiland Coffee Roasters, Allen, TX – 176 pts


Coffee today for is the sun dried natural Bourbon variety Nkonge from Burundi by

Tasting notes for ‘s Burundi spro include black cherry, raspberry, cinnamon, w/ a juicy and creamy mouthfeel.

. doing some interesting spro aerating for his sig bev.

That sig bev includes Cara cara orange palm simple syrup, cinnamon infused pomegranate vinegar reduction, & strawberry beet foam

Joel Bigelow, Arrow Coffee Co, Manhattan, KS – 230 pts


Coffee today for is a fully washed coffee from Narino, Colombia, roasted by Messenger Coffee.

Coming from the El Obraje farm, ‘s espresso has notes of cara cara orange, almond, and dried cherry

Smoke ’em if you got ’em. is setting fires onstage for his sig bev

Cara cara organge infused cream and star anise simple syrup shaken together for texture in ‘s sig bev

David Buehrer, Greenway Coffee Co, Houston, TX – 242.5 pts


A wet processed French mission Bourbon coffee for from the Mpanga washing station in Burundi.

The direct flavor analogy for ‘s spro? “Sonic cherry limeade”

Did you think wasn’t gonna have a little Bun B and Pimp C in his soundtrack? Because you’d be wrong.

Sig bev for includes cherry vanilla caramelized simple syrup, hibiscus tea, and chamomile powdered sugar

All served, of course, in tiny cups. No Sonic ice for ‘s cherry limeade sig bev.

Stacy Kim, Fulcrum Coffee Roasters, Seattle, WA – 116.5 pts (dq)


A wet processed coffee for , from Lake Kivu in Rwanda.

“The beans are being a little bit funky today” – staying cool under pressure.

That Rwandan coffee for comes from the Hingekawa Women’s Association.

“Orange like acidity, dried fig, and a hint of clove” in ‘s Rwandan spros.

Kathie Hilberg, Spyhouse Coffee Roasting Co, Minneapolis, MN – 240 pts


Coffee for Hilberg is the Don Amado from Las Flores, Santa Barbara in Honduras.

Washed processed, the Don Amado is a mix of Pacas and Catuai varieties. Notes of tart strawberry, white pepper & graham cracker sweetness.

Sig bev for Hilberg includes fresh strawberry soda, a balsamic gastrique, and star anise.

Adam JacksonBey, The Potter’s House, Washington DC – 189 pts


“In a lot of ways, dialing in a coffee comes down to three things: space, time, and love”

9 days off roast, that PNG spro from has notes of roasted carrot, sweet potatoes, molasses, w/ a lime acidity.

“I wanted to do something cool and refreshing. And I wanted a reason to bring a penguin on stage” – sig bev logic from

10 times counter-clockwise stirs for ‘s sig bev. lots of 10-stir directions going on today.

Zachary Domville, Quay Coffee, Lee’s Summit, MO – 156 pts


Spro for is chilled, w/ notes of tomato, blood orange, and dried strawberry. stir 20 times.

‘s coffee is a Cajamarca Select from Peru.

Red bell pepper paste, basil rinse, and a homemade grapefruit blood orange reduction for ‘s sig bev.

We asked if his sig bev had a name. It does. It’s the Chipotle Bowl.

Milo DeGoosh, Bard Coffee, Portland, ME – 241.5 pts


Coffee for DeGoosh is a naturally processed Hambela from the Guji Zone in Ethiopia.

The Hambela from is 100% organic, and just so happens to be a 2017 winner.

“Maine winters are cold, guys” – the impetus for DeGoosh’s old fashioned inspired sig bev.

Salt water and basil spritz, w/ cascara, sugar, cacao nibs syrup, and a earl grey and kefir lime leaf bitters for Degoosh’s sig bev.

Joyce Yong, Rothrock Coffee, State College, PA – 161 pts


The theme for Yong is “finding joy and adventure in the unexpected and unheard of things in life”

Naturally processed Ethiopia from Gera Estates grown at 1900-2100MASL for Yong’s espresso course.

Full chocolatey body leading to pops of blueberry, peach, and lemon in the Gera spros for Yong.

“Whether it’s coffee stories, people stories, love stories, I’m here to tell these stories well”

Nicholas Balcer, Barista, Portland, OR – 265.5 pts


Coffee for Balcer comes from Nariño, Colombia, grown 1800-2500MASL, with rich and complex flavors reminiscent of cherry cola.

Malic acidity, dark red cherry, hazelnut, and mulling spice notes for Balcer’s spro, stirred 15 times.

Barista competition espresso instructions always make my spro stirring game seem very inadequate.

Sig bev for Balcer includes cardamom bitters, cherry, bubbly water, and chilled espresso.

Greg Manlove, Colectivo Coffee, Milwaukee, WI – 155.5 PTS

Coffee for Manlove is from the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda, grown at 1400-2200MASL by the Bukonzo Joint Coop.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Manlove is rocking a little King Crimson “Court of the Crimson King,” which I am not mad at.

Notes in Manlove’s Ugandan espresso include white wine, black plum, and dark, velvety chocolate notes.

Confirmation on that King Crimson, as the the sig bev for Manlove is called the Crimson King.

Plum cinnamon tea and black plum infused dark chocolate in Manlove’s sig bev.

Ezra Michaels, Amethyst Coffee Co, Denver, CO – 164.5 PTS

Soft orange, aromatic floral, juicy cherry, and graham cracker dryness for Michaels’ espresso tasting notes.

Pomegranate molasses and rosemary and lemon coating for Michaels’ sig bev.

Austin Amento, AUGIES COFFEE, Redlands, CA – 215.5 PTS


Notes for Amento’s spros include a brown sugar sweetness, peach acidity, creamy body, and acorn squash

Amento has been holding off on revealing the origin of his coffee. It’s a Bourbon variety grown at 1400MASL in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Sig bev includes tea made of apricot seed, lemongrass, & rosemary, roasted acorn squash brown sugar jam, and fresh ground apricot seeds

Mason Capman, Ozo Coffee Co, Boulder, CO – 211 PTS

Red berry aroma, sugar cane sweetness, and ruby red grapefruit acidity in Capman’s espresso course

Gin botanicals aromatic, hop syrup, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, and sparkling water for Capman’s sig bev.

Peter Ciolino, Anodyne Coffee Roasters, Milkwaukee, WI – 201 pts

Coffee today for Ciolino is a fully washed Kenya AA sourced through , expressing notes of cranberry, merlot, and black tea

That Kenya AA is a Tharaka Nithi from Kiriani for Ciolino.

Ginger, red grape juice reduction, kefir lime leaves, all shaken over ice, w/ a maraschino cherry garnish for Ciolino’s sig bev.

Not just any Kenya AA beans for Ciolino, but “big fluffy beautiful beans.”

Umeko Motoyoshi, Sudden Coffee, San Francisco, CA – 222 pts


I believe is the first instant coffee company to field a competitor at Barista comp. But Sudden ain’t your normal instant.

Coffee for Motoyoshi is a Tavi variety from Colombia, with notes of grapefruit and pineapple.

Sig bev includes dehydrated pineapple nectar, basil & cucumber tea infusion, strawberry shrub, & of course, instant

Randall Jackson, Yellow House Coffee, Lubbock, TX – 169.5 pts

Salted brown butter ganash, lavender infused milk, and raspberry soda for ‘s sig bev.

Yep, that’s “Getting Jiggy With it” playing right now. I can’t remember the last time I got jiggy with “it” or anything else for that matter

Spro for is honey-processed from Antigua, Guatemala, roasted by .

Savannah Britton, Cafe Virtuoso, San Diego, CA – 220 pts

Britton’s coffee today is a wild Heirloom varietal from Hambela in Ethiopia, an 80/20 blend of two roast profiles.

Ripe grapefruit, pineapple acity, and dark chocolate in the espresso notes for Britton.

Sig bev for Britton is made up of simple syrup, water, and spro nitrous charged

That’s a creamcicle like sig bev for Britton.

Stacy Wright, Inversion Coffee, Houston, TX – 174.5 pts

Coffee for is from the Mpanga washing station in Kayanza, Burundi.

A juicy cup full of malic and citric acid for ‘s Burundi spro.

Fruity and floral aroma like dried hibiscus flowers, navel orange acidity and juicy body like a green pear for ‘s spros.

Strawberry puree, nitrous, and spro in the sig bev for @littleestbarista.

Naida Lindberg, Verve Coffee Roasters, Santa Cruz, CA – 224 pts


It’s a Geisha variety for today at , the first of the day.

. flavor calls are seriuos: rose decadence “evocative of just plucked aromatics,” Grapefruit acidity, &cool climate-grown merlot

sig bev for is a take on lambrusco: Rose hips, rose buds, and hibiscus syrup, white peach bitters, and lemongrass bubbles

Erik Becker, Cafe Grumpy, Brooklyn, NY – 207.5 pts

Notes of tangerine, vanilla, and butterscotch in the espresso course for

Coffee for is a Kenya Gichichi peaberry.

Passion fruit and a vanilla salt with the Gichichi espresso for ‘s sig bev.

Eliza Lovett, Story Coffee Co, Colorado Springs, CO – 248 pts

“I think about circles a lot” – Lovett invoking some True Detective, season 1 in her barista routine

Coffee for Lovett is a washed Kenya from the Chania Estate.

Kumquat, baker’s chocolate, and peach in Lovett’s Chania espressos, stirred 10 times.

Sig bev includes a pepper and dark brown sugar simple syrup and an oolong tea spritz for Eliza Lovett of

Benjamin Elliot, Cultivar Coffee, Dallas, TX – 204 pts

“What is competition coffee?” – a good question from Ben Elliot of

Espresso for Elliot today is from the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica, a 100% Red Catuai white honey processed coffee.

Grapefruit acidity, butterscotch sweetness, and a cocoa powder finish for Elliot’s espresso course.

Sig bev for Elliot: a coconut heavy whipping cream, rehydrated apricot & maple syrup, & spro, charged. w/ an orange rim & basil spray

Isaiah Sheese, Archetype Coffee, Omaha, NE – 272.5 pts


Coffee for Sheese is a naturally processed Ethiopia Bensa Qonqona grown at 2100MASL.

Fun and approachability are the big themes in Sheese’s performance today here in Austin.

Pineapple, grapefruit acidity, and a dark chocolate finish for Sheese’s naturally processed spros.

Coconut cream, pineapple juice, and demerara simple syrup, shaken makes up the sig bev for Sheese.

Emily Orendorff, Boxcar Coffee Roasters, Boulder, CO – 231 pts

Coffee for is from Nyeri, Kenya from the Gatamboya washing station.

Grown at 1800MASL and fully washed, ‘s Gatamboya spro is a mix of SL-28 and SL-34 varieties.

Sig bev for is made of blackberry shrub, chilled Madagascar chocolate and spro, with a blood orange spray.


Brandon Paul Weaver, Foreigner, Seattle, WA – 240.5 pts

Coffee today for is a Red Bourbon from Cafe Granja La Esperanza in Colombia.

It’s nice to see back competing, but it does make me sad b/c i don’t have anyone to trade bad puns with during live tweeting

Chance? The Rapper? Ya boy. bringing realness to the competition stage

Notes in that La Esperanza spro include cranberry syrup, black cherry, and dark honey.

ooooo a chaff bitters in sig bev. A very cool use of a roasting byproduct.

What is this? A kiss in? Organic mint chapstick given to the judges to apply before they drink their sig bevs for

Shepherd Wadley, Huckleberry Roasters, Denver, CO – 203.5 pts

Coffee for Wadley is washed Ethiopian from the Yirgacheffee Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union. Say that 10 times fast.

Lemon peel, which peach acidity, and ark chocolate bitterness in the YCFCU espressos for Wadley.

Demerara sugar and dried apricot simple syrup and black tea in Wadley’s sig bev.

Kiley Sullivan, Slate Coffee Roasters, Seattle, WA – 229.5 pts

Coffee for Sullivan comes from Finca Santa Maria in Colombia, a 40/40/20 Caturra, Castillo, and Bourbon blend.

Fully washed, Sullivan’s Colombian espresso has notes of tart cherry and brown sugar.

black mission fig jam, clarified butter, honey, and vanilla bean and anise botanical tea for Sullivan’s sig bev.

Jon French, Coffeebar, Reno, NV – 221.5 pts


Those are some lucious locks for French. Last year he was completely bald from some pretty serious cancer treatment. Looking good, Jon!

After not being able to taste his coffee last year, French is sipping his spro on stage before making his flavor calls.

That coffee for French is the famed Nekisse from , an Ethiopian offering.

Cinnamon, pineapple acidity, papaya, and a blueberry finish notes for French’s Nekisse finish.

French serving Nekisse espresso to a member of the crowd, his brother that he hasn’t seen in 12 years. THIS PERFORMANCE IS FULL OF MOMENTS


We’ll be back tomorrow to bring you all the Day Two action!