A Complete Look Back At The 2012 USBC Regionals

Over the course of 6 weeks in the beginning of 2012, Sprudge.com had the opportunity to attend all 6 of the regional competitions in this year’s United States Barista Competition cycle. The result is a body of work that we hope does justice to the professionalism and dedication of the competitors, more than 200 in total. This work would not have been possible without the independent sponsorship of several companies, including Wilbur Curtis Co., Dallis Bros. Coffee, Verve Coffee Roasters, Counter Culture Coffee, Intelligentsia, and Alterra Coffee. In addition, our coverage was facilitated by virtue of the unfettered access and support supplied by the staff of the SCAA. It was a joy and a privilege to attend and cover these events as your Unofficial Media Sponsors.

This post is a clearinghouse for coverage from all 6 regions, spaced out across 5 separate weekend events in Tacoma, New York City, Atlanta, Santa Cruz, and Chicago. We’re proud to offer you this archive for the 2012 USBC regional cycle, because we sincerely believe that this is the kind of coverage these events deserve.

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2012 Northwest Regional Barista Competition, January 27th-29th in Tacoma, Washington

Northwest Regional Barista (and Brewers Cup) Champion: Devin Chapman, Coava Coffee Roasters, PDX

Competition season kicked off on a high note in dreary, gloomy, beautiful Tacoma, Washington. This city has a special place in our hearts; both your Sprudge.com editors grew up here, so we love it and hate it with equal fervor. It was absolutely the right place to kick off this year’s competition cycle. Here’s a full list of all 20 competitors, and another list of the 16 Brewers Cup entrants.

We put together full recaps of all three days, and here they are: Day 1 (note the Boni & Willbur pic in the slideshow), Day 2 (check the Jen Prince video), and Finals Sunday (Neil Oney’s crotch). Here’s a complete schedule for all 6 Brewers Cup and Barista Competition finalists, along with a video shot Sunday morning detailing the agony and ecstasy of Finals prep.

In the end, Coava’s Devin Chapman won both the Brewers Cup and the Barista Competition, with second place going to Laila Ghambari (Stumptown) and third to Tyler Stevens (Barista). Read the full results from Finals Sunday, then click here for an exit interview with Mr. Chapman. Last but not least, treat your brain cells to this curated selection of Tacoma rap music from Sprudge.com’s Rap Anthem Curator (and Tacoma native), Michael Gardiner.

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2012 Southeast Regional Barista Competition, February 10th-11th in Atlanta, Georgia

2012 Southeast Regional Barista Champion: Lindsey Kiser, Peregrine Espresso, Washington DC

2012 Southeast Regional Brewers Cup Champion: Matt Ludwikowski, Octane Coffee, Atlanta, GA

Sprudge.com coverage sponsored by Wilbur Curtis Co., access provided by the SCAA.

A week and a half later, and we’re flying cross-country to Atlanta, with a 9 (!) hour drunken layover in Denver. The less you know about Atlanta, the less you know how cool it is. This was our first sponsored travel event, and in some ways, it set a template for the work to come. We can’t thank the Wilbur Curtis Co. team enough for stepping up to make our coverage possible, and a shout-out is definitely due to the folks at Counter Culture Coffee and Batdorf and Bronson, for putting on an awesome event and taking us under their wings for the weekend.

Here’s a list of all 28 competitors at the SERBC, along with all 13 entrants in the SE Brewers Cup. This competition packed a serious amount of action into like 36 hours, with competition taking place over just two days. Check out our Day 1 Part 1 recap (the Lem Butler video towards the bottom is a Sprudge staff favorite), then peruse the scene from Day 1 Part 2 (tech judge double squat .gif). This link takes you to a full list of all 6 Barista Competition and Brewers Cup finalists, and you can peruse our Youtube channel for video of the SERBC Finalists, a lovely Q&A with several competitors, plus a sit-and-chat with Sprudge favorite Camilla Ramos (of Miami’s Panther Coffee) and this in-depth down and nerdy convo with Ryan Jenson, owner of DC’s Peregrine Espresso.

Speaking of Peregrine, the barista du jour at SERBC was Lindsey Kiser, who placed first in a tough field of barista competitors. You can check out an exit interview with Ms. Kiser by clicking this link, which includes the very instant she was announced the SERBC winner. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s own Matt Ludwikoski (of Octane Coffee) won the Brewers Cup. We recapped the Finals Saturday hullabaloo here as best we could, before retiring to Jordan’s brother’s house for much-needed wine, BBQ, and play-time with Jordan’s baby niece.

There was another 3 1/2 hour layover in the Denver airport on our way back home.

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2012 Northeast Regional Barista Competition, February 25th-26th in New York City, New York.

2012 Northeast Regional Barista Champion: Katie Carguilo, Counter Culture Coffee, NYC

2012 Northeast Regional Brewers Cup Champion: Jordan Barber, Third Rail Coffee, NYC

Sprudge.com event coverage sponsored by Dallis Bros. Coffee, access provided by the SCAA.

Off to New York City for the NERBC, where Dallis Bros. Coffee played host to 28 barista competitors and no fewer than 18 Brewers Cup entrants. This one was another 2-day blitzkrieg, housed on the 11th floor of a Midtown skyscraper and presented in conjunction with the 7th Annual Coffee and Tea Festival NYC. We liveblogged this one, doing our best to both tweet and update the site throughout the day. Here’s our Day 1 Part 1 coverage, followed closely by our Day 1 Part 2 coverage (note the Justin Schulz head-noddage).

This link takes you to a list of all 6 Brewers Cup and Barista Competition finalists, which you can pair with video of all 6 barista finalists, as well as not one, but two interviews with NERBC champ Katie Carguilo – interview one (not into scales), and interview 2 (def into thanking people, guinea pigs). Katie sure did win that weekend, followed in 2nd by Jordan Barber (then of Third Rail, now of Intelligentsia), then Park Brannen, of Handsome Coffee Roasters. Mr. Barber also placed 1st at the NE Brewers Cup, using a Kenya Kieni coffee roasted by Denmark’s Coffee Collective. We wrote a little essay about each of the Barista Competition finalists, which you can peruse right here.

We really put out a lot of video content that weekend! Check out this fun interview with Sam Penix, owner of Everyman Espresso, then enjoy a little coffee talk with Brewers Cup finalist Tamara Vigil, of Irving Farm Coffee Company. Meanwhile, Handsome Coffee Roaster’s Park Brannen and Mike Phillips snuggle up before our unflinching lens, while John Moore breaks down the Chemex station offered by event hosts Dallis Bros. Coffee.  Our only big mistake was making a “Daria” joke (see #1) out of Pavement Coffee competitor Daria Whalen‘s name, because it’s pronounced “Dare-ee-uh”, and we were wrong to kid.

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2012 Southwest Regional Barista Competition, March 9th-11th in Santa Cruz, California

2012 Southwest Regional Barista Champion: Jared Truby, Verve Coffee Roasters, Santa Cruz, CA

2012 Southwest Regional Brewers Cup Champion: John Martin, Intelligentsia Coffee, Pasadena, CA

Sprudge coverage sponsored by Verve Coffee Roasters, access provided by the SCAA.

Egads, there were 40 barista competitors at the SWRBC! Here’s the full lists – Day One as well as Day Two. In addition to that, some 20 people competed in the Brewers Cup, making the SWRBC by far the largest regional event in this year’s competition cycle. There’s curated tweets, pics, and .gifs in our daily recaps: check here for Day 1 (lots of photography) and click here for Day 2 (the Charles Babinski .gif is a another staff favorite).

Here’s a list of the 2012 SWRBC finalists, along with video interviews of all 6: Kevin “Tex” Bohlin (Ritual Coffee Roasters), Charles Babinski (Intelligentsia), Lizzy Sampson (Verve Coffee Roasters), Alfonso Portela (Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters), Percy Ramirez (Intelligentsia), and Jared Truby (Verve Coffee Roasters). The SWRBC was such a wonderful way for Verve Coffee Roasters to open their community up to outside visitors, and so it felt kind of inevitable and natural for them to take home the win, like something out of a Hollywood sports script. Hometown hero Jared Truby won in the Barsita Competiton, while Intelligentsia’s John Martin capture the SW Brewers Cup. Check out this exit interview with Mr. Truby, read a series of essays we wrote for each finalist, then learn more about all the SW Brewers Cup finalists, including coffees and methods used by all six.

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2012 Big Central Regional Barista Competition, March 3rd-5th in Chicago, Illinois

2012 North Central Barista Champion: Ryan Knapp, MadCap Coffee Roasters

2012 North Central Brewers Cup Champion: Jon Ferguson, Independent, Lincoln, Nebraska

2012 South Central Barista Champion: Lorenzo Perkins, Cuvee Coffee Roasters, Spicewood, TX

2012 South Central Brewers Cup Champion: Mike Marquard, Half & Half, St. Louis, MI

Sprudge coverage sponsored by Counter Culture Coffee, Intelligentsia, and Alterra, access provided by the SCAA.

Two regionals, one weekend. This one felt like the toughest Koopa you have to fight before it’s time to battle Bowser. There were 20 competitors from the North Central and another 13 from the South Central, both yielding 6 distinct sets of finalists. Prelims were broken into two days – Day 1 and Day 2 – matched with a full slate of 28 Brewers Cup entrants. 

We somehow managed to cover it all, barely, and here’s proof: Day One recap in tweets and pics and Day Two with lots of photography. Here’s a listing of all 12 finalists for both regions, along with the 11 Brewers Cup finalists. There’s tons of video from that weekend, so check out these interviews with finalists Courtney Marie Vaquera (MadCap), Stacey Wieck (MadCap), Jacque DesMarais (Kaldi’s Coffee), Caitlin Corcoran (Parisi Brothers), and Charlie Habegger (Intelligentsia).

Finals Sunday was madness, a scene we attempted to capture in words and photos here. MadCap Coffee Company’s roaster and co-owner Ryan Knapp won the North Central for the second year in a row, while Cuvee Coffee’s Lorenzo Perkins took home first in the South Central; we’ve got these video exit interviews with Mr. Perkins and Mr. Knapp. On the Brewers Cup front, Mike Marquard won for the South Central, while independent competitor Jon Ferguson was crowned victor for the North Central.

That’s it. That’s all of it. Use this as an archive, and rest assured this information will always be here. Congratulations to all the competitors, and thank you to all of our sponsors.

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