Today is the last day of Round One of the US Brewers Cup here in Atlanta Georgia. The final 12 of the 37 competitor field will perform today in hopes of earning one of the coveted six spots in tomorrow’s Finals.

In years past, the first round involved competitors completing both a compulsory and open service. During the compulsory service, competitors would prepare coffee with whole bean coffee provided to them by the competition. The compulsory has been nixed at the US Competition in 2016.

Instead, we plow right into the “open service” component and witness as they prepare coffee with any coffee of their choice, and along with brewing, give a full presentation in front of the panel of judges.

We’re diving deep here, folks, live-blogging the final day of the three-day first round component of the 2016 Brewers Cup (and the 2016 US Barista Championship here). Stick around, we’ll be posting updates here all day long.

Brewers Cup Coverage is made possible by Acaia Coffee. All 2016 coverage on Sprudge Live is supported by KitchenAid Craft Coffee Brewers and Urnex Brands.

SARAH ANDERSON, INTELLIGENTSIA COFFEE

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Number of Years as a Coffee Brewer: 9

Number of Competitions Competed In: 3
Southwest Regional Brewers Cup: 4th (2014), 1st (2015)
US Brewers Cup: 1st (2015)
World Brewers Cup: 4th (2015)

Coffee: a wild grown heirloom Gesha from Gesha Village Estates in Ethiopia.
Brew Method: polished immersion brewer

Recipe:
5:00 full immersion
pass through an AltoAir filter

Aroma: jasmine 
Flavor:
black cherry, apricot, pear
Body:
dark fruit-like

Does your routine have a theme?
This year I am focusing on the coffee, my brewing, and the story that links it all together.

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
Too many to count on two hands. So, more than 10.

Do you have a coach/coaches?
Team Intelli is my coach. We are working together with 5 competitors, a couple of coaches, and some helping hands. It’s a real team effort here.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I’m nearly finished with the only book I brought on this trip. Stressing about what to read at bedtime/on the plane home. Anyone have one I can borrow?? Or know of a good book store in ATL?

JAMES TOOILL, LA COLOMBE

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Number of Years as a Coffee Brewer: 15

Number of Competitions Competed In: 5
Southeastern Regional Brewers Cup: 2012, 2014 (3rd)
US Brewers Cup: 2014 (6th)
US Cup Tasters: 2015 (1st)
World Cup Tasters: 2015 (24th)

Coffee: A 3-continent blend of naturals
Brew Method: Bonavita Immersion

Aroma: flavor, lavender
Flavor:
sweet, canteloupe
Body:
buttery, juicy

Does your routine have a theme? Sensory Description Styles

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition? 100

Do you have a coach/coaches?
Ben is my bass player/coach Hugh, Anthony and Alexandra roasted my coffee Rob is my trusted pallete and hype-man

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I’m looking forward to volunteering or judging next year.

Akaash Saini, Equator Coffee & Teas

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Number of Years as a Coffee Brewer: 5

Number of Competitions Competed In: 6
Northwest Regional Brewers Cup: 2012, 2014 (4th), 2015 (1st)
US Brewers Cup: 2012, 2015, 2016
2016 US Brewers Cup Regional Qualifying Event

Coffee: an heirloom Gesha from Gesha Village Coffee Estate in Ethiopia
Brew Method: NotNuetral Gino Brewer

Recipe:
15:1 brew ratio
3:00-3:20 total brew time

Flavor: Strawberries, floral, pressed watermelon juice

Does your routine have a theme? Community

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
My first interaction to specialty coffee was watching a live stream of the 2010 USBrC in Houston. I’ve been practicing since that day.

Do you have a coach/coaches?
Ant Fralich! He’s the head roaster at Equator and an amazing coach / friend! The team at Equator Coffees & Teas has been so supportive! From our baristas to our CEO Helen Russell.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I wasn’t in the coffee industry the first year I competed in the Brewers Cup! I have to thank the coffee community in the NW, particularly Michael ‘Panda’ Fernandez for pushing me to compete that very first time. I need to thank my family and my partner as well. They have been so supportive! Finally, I need to thank this industry. The love and support I receive from around the US and the world is incredible! To represent the US in the World Brewers Cup is a testament to how amazing this community is.

Todd Goldsworthy, Klatch Coffee

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Coffee: Natural processed Panama from Hacienda la Esmeralda
Brew Method: Kalita Wave

Recipe:
28g coffee to 350ml water
3:15 total brew time

Aroma: blueberry, coriander seed
Flavor:
black tea, sugar cane, blackberry
Body:
juicy

BENJAMIN LYTLE, NOVEL COFFEE ROASTERS

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Number of Years as a Coffee Brewer: 4

Number of Competitions Competed In: 1
2016 US Brewers Cup Regional Qualifying Event: 1st in West

Coffee: We are blending two coffees: The first is a washed coffee grown around 1900 meters in the community of Pavon in Antioquia, Colombia. The second is a West Ethiopian coffee called Jipat, which is a washed single farm / single variety coffee from Welega.
Brew Method: Torch Mountain Dripper
Water: We will be using two different waters to brew with. We will do a prolonged bloom using 0 ppm water and brew with 65 ppm water for the remainder of the time (all RO from our roastery).

Recipe:
12.5g coffee to 200g water
1:00 bloom
3:15 total brew time

Flavor: Pomegranate juice, red grape, hibiscus, tea like body and sugary sweet.

Does your routine have a theme?
The theme of our routine is the pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee and tying that into our thought process on using a very intentional blend for competition, basically noting that to brew excellent coffee you must consider all of your options.

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
Oh wow, probably 200 plus hours total.

Do you have a coach/coaches?
Kevin Betts, our co-owner and head roaster, has been my coach. We’ve collaborated on every aspect of this presentation and he’s worked super hard on all of it. I’ve been apprenticing under Kevin in brewing and roasting for awhile, so this has been a really fun application of all of that.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
Growing up, I was a leash kid. I can make balloon animals. I love flying kites, pizza crust, and my wife a whole lot!

JENNA GOTTHELF, EVERYMAN ESPRESSO

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Number of Years as a Coffee Brewer: 5

Number of Competitions Competed In: 5
Big East Regional Barista Championship: 2014, 2015
US Barista Championship: 2015
Coffee Masters NYC: 2015
NYC Aeropress Regional: 2016
2016 US Brewers Cup Regional Qualifying Event

Coffee: Finca Nuguo produced by the Gallardo family in Jurutungo, Panama, roasted by Counter Culture, and it rules.
Brew Method: Kalita Wave

Recipe:
24g coffee to 380g water
45 second bloom
YOLO pulse pour to 120g water, then to 200g, then to 300g, then to 380g
4:00 total brew time

Aroma: molasses, dried apricot, jasmine
Flavor: 
dates, honeysuckle, ripe tropical fruits
Body:
soft, delicate

Does your routine have a theme? Michael Jordan

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition? All of them

Do you have a coach/coaches? 
Erin McCarthy, Tommy Gallagher, Tymika Lawrence, Sam Penix, Sam Lewontin, and everyone at Counter Culture Coffee NYC. All of these people are very righteous.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I am not here about a fancy apron.

ALEXANDER CHOPPIN, OLYMPIA COFFEE ROASTING CO.

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Number of Years as a Coffee Brewer: 6

Number of Competitions Competed In: 5
Northwest Regional Brewers Cup: 2nd (2014), 2nd (2015)
US Brewers Cup: 15th (2014), 5th (2016)
2016 US Brewers Cup Regional Qualifying Event: 6th in West

Coffee: Burundi Mikuba: Part of Long Miles Coffee Project,
Brew Method: Kalita Wave

Recipe:
25g coffee to 400g water
3:15 total brew time

Flavor: Orange, brown sugar, tea

Does your routine have a theme? Potential

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition? Around 10

Do you have a coach/coaches?
Not a coach per se, but the OCR crew that heads to competitions is always incredibly helpful and supportive. In particular Honor Forte helps keep me from rambling in my routine, and Dustin Clark helps me fine-tune my extraction.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
Brewer’s Cup is probably the biggest reason I’ve made my career in coffee. I’m so happy to be doing it and to see how much the competition has grown and matured. Thank you guys for you’re awesome coverage!

DYLAN SIEMENS, ONYX COFFEE LAB

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Number of Years as a Coffee Brewer: 3.5

Number of Competitions Competed In: 2
US Latte Art the past two years. I got 6th last year.

Coffee: Colombia La Palma Y El Tucan Lactic Acid Fermented Red Honey Dried Gesha.
Brew Method: Kalita Wave
Water: 203.5 deg F

Recipe:
25g coffee to 400g water
30g bloom for 30 seconds
80g pulse pours to 400g by 2:00
2:50 total brew time

Flavor: Very floral (hibiscus, coffee blossom, jasmine), tamarind, white grape, orange peel, honey. Mouthwatering, tart, shining.

Does your routine have a theme?
I visited the farm a couple of weeks ago, so I’m just revisiting all the stages of the coffees life, and how that influences flavor profile.

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
3-4 hours a day over the past 3 weeks.

Do you have a coach/coaches?
I have the best team at Onyx. Mark Michealson is the roaster of this coffee. I couldn’t do anything without him. Jon and Andrea Allen, the owners of Onyx are who I look at as my coaches. They help me with script, tasting, and run-throughs, and provide me with all the tools I need to do well. Gabe Smentek and Brendon Glidden constantly support and watch me. They give me great feedback and coaching, and let me bounce ideas off of them.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I’m honored to brew one of the best coffees I’ve ever had just after getting to see it on the farm. The work of the professionals at La Palma Y El Tucan and Onyx Coffee Lab is unparalleled, and I hope to reflect that in the way I speak about and brew this coffee.

Blair Smith, Augie’s Coffee Roasters

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Number of Years as a Coffee Brewer: 2

Number of Competitions Competed In: 4

Coffee: A lactic acid processed gesha from Colombia.
Brew Method: Kalita Wave

Recipe:
15:1 brew ratio

Flavor: Honeydew melon, limeade, kiwi

Does your routine have a theme? ‘Why does this coffee taste so good?’

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
Never enough. Prob 40+

Do you have a coach/coaches?
Austin and Tim- both roasters at Augie’s, Austin won US Cup Tasters this year. Both have really good pallets and are amazing humans.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I really really like dogs.

John Quinn, Steadfast Coffee

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Number of Years as a Coffee Brewer: 7

Number of Competitions Competed In: 3
Coffeefest World Latte Art Championships – Atlanta, Chicago, NYC

Coffee: Cerro Azul AAA, a washed Gesha from Cafe Granja La Esperanza in Colombia
Brew Method: Gino dripper

Recipe:
16:1 brew ratio
sift grinds
4:00 total brew time

Flavor: Jasmine, tangerine, mango, caramel

Does your routine have a theme?
Consistency in real-world cafes. Also, I’ll be sifting in front of the judges to show a method that is practical in a cafe setting for a typical customer.

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
Probably 20 or so

Do you have a coach/coaches?
My colleagues Sean Stewart and Lee Sill have been tremendous. I’ve shoved dozens of brewing experiments in front of them for tasting, and we worked out our game plan as a team. They are both extremely talented at tasting coffee, and they’re both incredible supportive guys. I’ve also gotten some great help from a few other members of the Steadfast team: Robbie Melton, Nathanael Mehrens, and Jamie Cunningham.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
This is my first time competing at Brewer’s Cup. It’s been quite a rigorous process, but it’s given me an opportunity to hang-out-with/get-closer-to a bunch of people that I respect and admire. It’s been great!

Jenny Bonchak, Slingshot Coffee Co.

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Number of Years as a Coffee Brewer: 5

Number of Competitions Competed In: 3
US Brewers Cup: 2nd (2015)
2016 US Brewers Cup Regional Qualifying Event: 1st in East

Coffee: a blend of a washed and honey processed Gesha from Finca Nuguo in Jurutungo, Panama.
Brew Method: Bonmac Classic

Recipe:
25g coffee to 300g water
3:30 total brew time

Aroma: honeysuckle, vanilla
Flavor:
pink grapefruit, watermelon rind, honeysuckle
Body:
juicy

Does your routine have a theme?
he loose theme of my routine is about learning to discover what makes things at their best.

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
Too many and not enough

Do you have a coach/coaches?
My coach is Jonathan “Peaches” Bonchak, who is my husband, business partner, and successful Brewers Cup competitor. He likes rock & roll, new tennis shoes and is quite affable.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I wish my dog, Frank the Beagle, was with me at Brewers Cup.

James Gibbs, Allegro Coffee Roasters

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Number of Years as a Coffee Brewer: Lots

Number of Competitions Competed In: 6+
Big East Regional Brewers Cup: 5th (2014)
Big Central Regional Brewers Cup: 2nd (2015)
US Brewers Cup: 6th (2015)
2015 US Aeropress Championship
2016 US Brewers Cup Regional Qualifying Event

Coffee: Panama Gesha from Ninety Plus Gesha Estates in Volcan, a 2016 fresh crop part of their Makers Series
Brew Method: Hario v60

Recipe:
20g coffee to 270g water
2:45 total brew time

Aroma: honeysuckle, vanilla bean, citric orange
Flavor:
jasmine tea, cane sugar, peach, raw honey, ripe apple, apricot, green apple, green grape
Body:
medium, juicy

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition? 20+

Do you have a coach/coaches?
My entire ACR team at the Cafe Bar, lead by Marissa, has been an incredible support through out this whole process, especially my roasting team of Kreg, Tiff, and ‘T-Una’. Support form the ACR Sourcing team and Directors, headed by Darrin Daniel, have entrusted me to represent the ACR Program to my fullest.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
Thank you to the SCAA and BGA for their continued support in growing the Brewers Cup. This has been integral to my personal and professional growth.

The hot brew action has come to a close. Stay tuned for Finalist announcements…