Eastern Day 1 - sXe Milk

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

Eastern Day 1 - Helena Shanks - River Rock

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

Eastern Day 1 - Courtney Vaquera - Madcap

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

Eastern Day 1 - Wade Preston - Prevail

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

Eastern Day 1 - Marcos Iglesias - BREW

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

Eastern Day 1 - Corey Reilly - Counter Culture

“Quality is a word that we use to describe where we want our product to be…where we want our industry to be”

Octavio Montenegro washed Colombia Narino coffee from @counter_culture here from @CoreReiD at #uscoffeechamps“sparkling acidity”

“graham cracker…toasted almond…if you look for it, a buttery sweetness” in @CoreReiD‘s #uscoffeechamps capps

more graham crackers than a boy scout summer camp up in here this week at #uscoffeechamps

gomme arabic like whoa in this Corey R. Reilly @CoreReiD of @counter_culture sig drink at #uscoffeechamps

David G. Hall, Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Co, Kansas City, MO–272

Eastern Day 1 - David Hall - Kaldis

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

Eastern Day 1 - David Hall - Kaldis

“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

Eastern Day 1 - Margaret DeGoosh - Bard 2

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

Eastern Day 1 - Jonathen Liu - Blue Bottle 01

“sweet breakfast cereal, mild caramel throughout, soft texture, warm temperature” for Jonathan Liu’s @bluebottleroast capps

a lil Ethiopia Yirgacheffe from Jonathan Liu and @bluebottleroast here at #uscoffeechamps

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

Eastern Day 1 - Anna Rozenberg - Charter 01

Anna Rozenberg competes at #uscoffeechamps w/ @counter_culture‘s lovely, singular Burundi Buziraguhindwa

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

Eastern Day 1 - Jeremy Sterner - Peregrine 01

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

Eastern Day 1 - Jordan Howe - Arthouse Coffee

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

Eastern Day 1 - Sam Lipnick - La Colombe

“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

More Eastern Conference coverage here!