Welcome to a recap from Day One of Eastern Conference action at the 2016 US Coffee Championships Qualifying Event! 25 competitors competed today—we’re breaking these recaps into smaller, bite-sized portions, and will be publishing two a day throughout the event.
This year there’s a live scoring element that’s been introduced into the competition, with a total available points value of 430. That’s the number you’ll see accompanying each of these extraordinary competitors. After the unforgettable, riveting action at the Western Conference Qualifiers, Eastern baristas couldn’t possibly measure up—until they did, and even more, exceeding our wildest dreams and making our media partner fantasies come true in real time.
Our coverage is made possible by direct support from Urnex Brands. The SprudgeLive competition coverage crew includes Charlie Burt (photos), Elizabeth Chai (photos), and Zac Cadwalader (producer). Notes in this article are pulled from our @sprudgelive competition feed—follow us there for play by play throughout the wee
Helena Shanks, River Rock Coffee, St. Peter, MN–259
1500-2000 MASL, typica & bourbon varietals for Ms. Shanks Colombian coffee from Fondo Paez Coop.
“mild citrus acidity, buttery sweetness, and caramel” for H. Shanks espresso roasted by @kickapoocoffee
Sig bev for H. Shanks includes panella, hibiscus ice sphere, and a orange zest garnish.
Courtney Vaquera, Madcap Coffee, Grand Rapids, MI–225.5
Tangerine sweetness, cherry spice, complex bitterness, & dry sauv blanc finish for Ms. Vaquera’s espresso from El Cairo in Narino, Colombia
Lucas Melo & El Cairo took 2nd in Colombia’s 2014 Cup of Excellence.
Greek yogurt tasting note for C. Vaquera’s milk course. Greek yogurt is head and shoulders above all other yogurts.
Pear reduction and a sauv blanc tasting note round out a really tasty sounding sig bev for Courtney Vaquera of @madcapcoffee
Wade Preston, Prevail Coffee Roasters, Opelika, AL–232.5
Preston competes with coffee from Finca San Luis in Guatemala—gesha variety, washed, soaked, patio dried
routine is a tribute to “the patience of land and labor” inspired by Preston’s sheriff grandfather in Alabama
sig drink takes handmade pecan milk from Wade Preston’s town in Alabama
chocolate fudge, pecan, and lime in Wade Preston’s #uscoffeechamps sig drink—squeeze that lime wedge!
Marcos Iglesias, BREW Coffee Bar/Raleigh Coffee, Raleigh, NC–307
Marcos Iglesias is serving a first harvest coffee from a young coffee farmer in Nicaragua here at #uscoffeechamps
“Skinny Love” remix on the stereo but Marco Iglesias, we just ate so many tacos for lunch…
tart cherry juice, apricot nectar, espresso, and almond extract in sig drink
Corey R. Reilly, Counter Culture Coffee, New York, NY–266
“Quality is a word that we use to describe where we want our product to be…where we want our industry to be”
more graham crackers than a boy scout summer camp up in here this week at #uscoffeechamps
David G. Hall, Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Co, Kansas City, MO–272
Hey cool some nice Kenyan coffee here from DG Hall of @kaldis_coffee gotta love the Kenyan coffees
lotta love for Scott Laboratories this week at #uscoffeechamps let’s give it up for Scott Labs in the 60s y’all
Capuchin monks. Capuchin monkeys. A monk’s head cappuccino pour. DG Hall going monks / monkeys / milk at #uscoffeechamps
anjou pear & orange blossom honey in this sig drink from DG Hall of @kaldis_coffee
Michael Harwood, Ceremony Coffee Roasters, ￼￼Annapolis, MD–294.5
“I’m crafting a love tonic special for you today.” ooo-wee!
white chocolate, papua new guinea espresso, red food coloring, ginger, garnished w/ pickled ginger & rose hip
red food coloring b/c it’s “like the red dress you put on for a little more excitement” — *same*
you expect a professional & crisp run from @bluebarista but we were surprised by how… [arrow through heart emoji x2] romantic [arrow through heart emoji x2] this routine was
Margaret DeGoosh, Bard Coffee, Portland, ME–243.5
some tasty natural processed Guji coffee from Ethiopia, Margaret DeGoosh, and @bardcoffee
haters gonna hate but i actually *love* good natural coffee as a drinker and think it’s cool to see it used more at #uscoffeechamps events
“creamy mouthfeel, raspberries, stone fruit sweetness, and dark chocolate” in Margaret DeGoosh’s #uscoffeechamps espresso
Jonathen Liu, Blue Bottle Coffee, Brooklyn, NY–251.5
“sweet breakfast cereal, mild caramel throughout, soft texture, warm temperature” for Jonathan Liu’s @bluebottleroast capps
it took 3 days but now, finally, you can check off your Bowie box on the #uscoffeechamps bingo card
hey there’s a salt block up on stage! heated salt vapors y’all from Jonathan Liu
Anna Rozenberg, Charter Coffee, New York, NY–216.5
apologies to the good coffee people of Rwandi, no doubt.
sig drink for A Rozenberg takes pom syrup, cocoa syrup, tart cherry syrup, Burundi espresso
Jeremy Sterner, Peregrine Espresso, Washington, DC–308.5
we may be in for not just one REM song from Jeremy Sterner, but an all-REM set at #uscoffeechamps
“tangy orange marmalade, fresh baked biscuit” notes in Jeremy Sterner’s #uscoffeechamps cappucinos
creme anglaise, passion fruit caramel, Ana Lucia espresso in Jeremy Sterner’s #uscoffeechamps sig drink
Jeremy Sterner calls time at like 8:32?? earliest time called of the comp by far
Jordan Howe, Arthouse Coffee, St. Louis, MO–247.5
sig drink for @jordanhow314 & @living_roomSTL oleo saccharine, pineapple cordial, espresso—claririfed through aeropress
espresso notes for @jordanhowe314 “melon sweetness, key lime acidity, peach, and baking spice”
this is an Ethiopian espresso from @jordanhowe314 from the Gedo woreda
Sam Lipnick, La Colombe Coffee, Washington, DC–230.5
“I think aroma is the simplest way to show people that coffee is special.” —Sam Lipnick of @lacolombecoffee
It’s a Boquete, Panama coffee here for Sam Lipnick of @lacolombecoffee—Geisha from the famed, revered Hacienda Esmeralda
rose tincture, bergamot oil, espresso, hot water in Sam Lipnick’s Geisha sig drink
oh hey some dry ice from Sam Lipnick — it’s smokin’, it’s bubblin’, it’s like a party up here people
“rosewater, white grape, sparkling bergamot & lemon acidity…smooth, finishes crisp” S. Lipnick espresso