Welcome to a recap from Day One 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 this 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, all of the routines today were 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.
Eli Ramirez, Shift Coffee, Denton, TX—246
Eli Ramirez is the first of a whopping 100 or so baristas we’ll watch over the next four days. hold me.
“grapefruit acidity, sugary body, grapefruit rind—bourbon, caturra, and colombia”
Eli Ramirez calls time at 9:52 — which is now a normal and indeed beneficial time at which to call time.
Andy Fung, Hide Out Café, Rowland Heights, CA—198.5
Strawberries & espresso in Andy Fung’s signature drink here at #uscoffeechamps —”it tastes really sweet, but finishes with coffee”
“I’m so happy today to be a barista for you guys. Thank you.” – Andy Fung with an early lead for “most polite competitor” at #uscoffeechamps
Casey Soloria, Intelligentsia Coffee, Pasadena, CA—301
“The term ‘strong coffee’ is a pretty vague term…as a barista we’re thinking concentration”
“vanilla and butterscotch” notes in Casey Soloria’s sig drink—”PS? these little cups are for your spoons”
#uscoffeechamps prop bets on soundtracks: take the over on Selena; if you play “Hotline Bling” into anything by The Weeknd that’s a parlay
Suzy Lippmann, Augie’s Coffee Roasters, Redlands, CA—211.5
it’s a La Palma y el Tucan coffee from Colombia for S Lippmann of @augiescoffee—hella high grown, anarobic pre-fermented
“Collaborating with the people close to me gave me the a-ha idea for my signature beverage”
S. Lippmann sig: “chilled espresso, cane sugar cocoa nib syrup, hibiscus & currant coriander lime gel foam”
Tamara Vigil, The Coffee House, Lincoln, NE—267.5
It’s a high grown Ecuadorian typica coffee here for Tamara Vigil –”hazelnut and toffee finish” in her milk drink
It’s a honey processed coffee here for T. Vigil—mucilage helps create added mouthfeel & depth in the coffee.
honey processed T. Vigil jammer has notes of “cherry fruit leather, baked green apple, sweet clean finish”
Joel Bigelow, PT’s Coffee Roasting Co, Topeka, KS—283
some hot takes here at the sprudge desk—”blood orange is this year’s meyer lemon” #hottakes
Kim Alexander, Tanager Coffee Roasters/Cathedral, Portland, OR—177.5
Cathedral Coffee is a *great* coffee house and bakery in the St. John’s neighborhood of PDX serving @tanagercoffee
K. Alexander’s serving a caturra from Peru—”This is such a special moment in my coffee career”
Ooh a cortado from Kim Alexander—under the new rules, smaller milk drinks are allowed and encouraged! #uscoffeechamps “caramel, apricot”
K. Alexander sig drink inspired by Baton Rouge—chicory, sassafras & sasparilla syrup paired with espresso & egg whites
Perry Czopp, The Coffee Chop, Phoenix, AZ—207
P. Czopp went and picked cherries in Costa Rica—he’s got a real connection with the coffee served at #uscoffeechamps
It’s an agua dulce inspired sig drink from @thecoffeechop — a little sweet, a little bit of milk, a nice taste of Costa Rica
Jared Gum, Bar Francis, Olympia, WA—287
orange creamsicle and marshmallow notes in Jared Gum’s #uscoffeechamps milk drink—super rich and creamy
Jonathan Dail, Hidden House Coffee, San Juan Capistrano, CA—268.5
“Coffee is a direct reflection of its terroir” — J. Dail has a “rue” plant up on stage with him
Rue is a shrub that grows wild in Ethiopia. Learn more here!
Sig drink: Rue herb tisane, espresso, simple syrup, slapped rue—”bright, tropical, and sweet”
Chelsea Rae, The Roost, Lawrence, KS—DQ
“cherry sweetneess, peppery notes” in C. Rae’s #uscoffeechamps espressos — for sig drink paired with marmalade & black pepper extract
flaming citrus zest finishes off C. Rae’s #uscoffeechamps sig drink