Welcome to a recap from Day Two of Western 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, but whether you DQ’d or cracked 300, we really dug today’s set of routines and we think you’re all awesome.
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 week.
Becky Reeves, Ristretto Roasters, Portland, OR–326
Up first it’s Becky Reeves, representing Ristretto Roasters in Portland, OR
Crisp routine here from @becksreeves up first—love her classic soda bottle sig drink.
Josh Taves, Novo Coffee, Denver, CO–275.5
“sweet bell pepper and bakers chocolate” for @coffeeuphigh‘s finca hartmann maragogype
@coffeeuphigh‘s coffee first measured for sugar content in brix—unit of sugar measure commonly used in wine.
sig drink for @coffeeuphigh includes plantain jam w/ panella & mint tea, ice & espresso, blended up
“a ghost judge! i can feel your presence, but I can’t see you.”
Cris Mendoza, Saint Frank Coffee, San Francisco, CA–268
this is a Red Pacas and Catimor coffee for @crisjmendoza —it hails from Santa Barbara, Honduras and it sounds delicious.
“toffee, buttercream, and a hint of raspberrry” in @crisjmendoza‘s milk drinks.
consensus is that we really dig @crisjmendoza‘s 80s video game music, particularly the “final boss” ended the routine on.
Jon French, Old World Coffee, Reno, NV–279
“crisp apple acidity, subtle mandarin orange, graham cracker, cacao nib, and plum-like fruitiness” for Jon French spro
wow Jon French we really up in the club together huh. [sprudge livecast table all dancing]
apple juice, grenadine, gomme syrup, nutmeg, flamed orange peel in Jon French’s #uscoffeechamps sig drink
Elle Taylor, Amethyst, Denver, CO–225
Elle Taylor was a late addition to #uscoffeechamps—a different Amethyst Coffee competitor was scheduled, but got stuck in a blizzard
“the thing that makes me the most happy about what I do is being able to support people”
strawberry basil shrub sig drink, espresso & earl grey tea for Elle Taylor’s sig drink
Elle Taylor calls time at 10:08 — for a routine that did not exist until like yesterday, that’s awesome.
Kyle Ramage, Mahlkonig USA, Scotts Valley, CA–268
“Better coffee is better coffee because at the end of the day it is better coffee.”
This is a Narino, Colombia coffee for @kyle_rampage —2200 MASL, caturra and castillo—cherry, brown sugar, tangerine, peach
grass-fed non-homogenized Iowa dairy milk for @kyle_rampage making capps that taste like oatmeal raisin cookie
Stacy Wood‐Burgess, Cafe Javasti, Seattle, WA–217
“espresso is like a poem” starts Ms. Wood‐Burgess’s routine.
Espresso for @stacywburgess is from El Brazilia in the Tolima region of Colombia. “medium bright with a tea-like tartness”.
2oz of milk to 1oz of espresso for @stacywburgess. One of many competitors to take advantage of the new openness in the milk course.
cotton candy puff to finish of @stacywburgess‘s cherry and tea-based sig bev.
Tyler G. Hill, The Principal’s Office, Colorado Springs, CO–316
“When I first fell in love with coffee, it was for it’s beautiful simplicity… then it’s beautiful complexity” – T. Hill
longer shots and <120 deg milk for T. Hill’s milk course to enhance sweetness.
T. HIll’s coffee is from Cerro Azul in Colombia grown at 1800MASL roasted by @swtblmcoffee. Notes of sweet jasmine and earl grey tea.
Oolong tea, over-extracted oolong tea ice cubes, and peach mist for @thuhTYLER‘s sig bev.
Cole McBride, PublicUS, Las Vegas, NV–332.5
Cole McBride competes with an Ecuadorian coffee here at #uscoffeechamps—La Papaya, typica, souther Ecuador
McBride visited La Papaya in advance of this competition and has first-hand knowledge of the farm
McBride’s not backing off on script under the new format—script and shots happening in tandem
sig drink inspired by molecular gastronomy for @colecoffee — acids being converted by the inherent qualities of his espresso
Maxwell Mooney, Spotted Cow Coffee, Mill Creek, WA–284.5
it’s a bourbon and typica coffee varieties from PNG for @maxwellamooney, plus a local hybrid of the two called “arusha”
“medium weight, silky texture, creamy finish—rainier cherry—floral, bitter complexity like citra hops”
sig drink: coconut water, coriander simple syrup, @graceharborfrms milk—aerated for texture—plus espresso
Michelle Johnson, Cartel Coffee Lab, Tempe, AZ–269.5
friends texting me that @meeshal should win on soundtrack alone. we are impartial but can see the validity of this opinion.
this sig drink is the “refresco del guego” — long-pull espressos, muddled jalapeno, charred pineapple syrup, foamed
burned pineapple slices! “i really want to burn something” — we feel you
Leah Shinkle, PT’s Coffee, Topeka, KS–295.5
local milk yo. local cows. these cows eat a diet to heighten their butterfat content.
heavy cream & espresso in Leah Shinkle’s #uscoffeechamps sig drink, paired with earl grey tea, shaken
Bethany Hargrove, Barista, Portland, OR–314
Bethany Hargove: “milk is delicious and tastes good with coffee.” #truthbombs
Coffee for @b_harg is from Finca la Primavera in Tolima, Colombia—washed & sun dried, “structured and clear”