Charlie Habegger Is Your North Central Barista Champ!

A huge congratulations to Charlie Habegger, of Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, your 2013 North Central Barista Champion! Mr. Habegger is an educator at Intelligentsia’s original Broadway location in Chicago. He competed using Intelligentsia’s Colombia “Amigos de Buesaco”, a Caturra and Castillo variety coffee from Colombia’s southwestern Narino region. Mr Habegger was a finalist in last year’s North Central region; this is his first USBC regional win, and the first win for Intelligentsia during the 2013 competition cycle.

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During his routine, Charlie called out the fact that Buesaco comes from three specific farms, each around 2 hectares each – “an area smaller than Kansas City” – and questioned the notion of “single origin” as a true descriptor for small coffee lots. Lot building then played into Mr. Habegger’s signature drink, whose ingredients were meant to mimic the process of putting together a single lot of coffee from multiple small farms. This signature drink included blackberry and tarragon jam, a 10 gram vanilla infusion, shots of the Amigos de Buesaco, and “the right amount of lime for clarity” – around 3 drops per beverage, ever-so-carefully applied by the sure-handed Mr. Habegger.

Charlie called time in his finals routine at 15:23, and finished by telling his judges the following: “Coffee quality is birthed by producers – it’s up to baristas to pass that along.”

A sincere congratulations to Charlie Habegger and Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea! Mr. Habegger now has an automatic birth into the semi-finals at the 2013 United States Barista Championship, and he’ll join Southeast winner Lem Butler on the 2013 Cafe Imports Origin Trip to Kenya.

Original photography by Charlie Burt for Sprudge.com  – @Tiger_Friend on Twitter.