The Best Cup Of Coffee In America: Erin McCarthy, Brewers Cup Champ

A hearty congratulations to Erin McCarthy, your 2013 United States Brewers Cup Champion! Mr. McCarthy is a technician for Counter Culture Coffee in New York City, and he becomes the first person not named Andy Sprenger to win the US Brewers Cup. Counter Culture colleague Jonathan Bonchak placed second, and together they celebrated their victory with friends, familia, and the world watching at home.

Just what the heck is the Brewers Cup? It’s a region-by-region battle royale of brewing, doing, and hallelu-ing, bringing together some of the most gifted coffee professionals in the United States. We’ve got a full guide on how to win the darn thing right here, plus detailed routine recaps throughout our 2013 Road to Melbourne coverage archives.

So how did Erin McCarthy brew it? We got the straight scoop from the man himself.

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* Start with a Kalita Wave and pre-wet paper filter.

* Do a medium coarse grind, sifting out the fines to yield 24 grams of coffee total.

* 380 grams of water total – 48 grams of bloomin’ water, just off the boil.

* Add remaining water using the the pulse brewing methodology – a “rhythmical throbbing” of water droplets, carefully poured out of the spout of Mr. McCarthy’s kettle.

* After 200 grams of water, transition to flow restricted kettles.  3:30 total brew time.

“I wanted to keep the highest bed of water without disturbing the coffee beneath it,” Mr. McCarthy told us. With a kettle in each hand, McCarthy polished off the brew in three minutes and forty-five seconds.

Judges sipped on Counter Culture Coffee’s Esmeralda Geisha “Leon” lot while Erin talked about the modern history of the Gesha variety. “I call it the Meryl Streep of coffee,” Erin says. “It’s important – because of its popularity, it got people talking about varieties.”

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Mr. McCarthy pictured here with fellow champion Pete Licata.

Mr. McCarthy hopes to bring a team of New York City baristas to Melbourne for support, and when asked if he’ll bring the same level of creativity, determination, and drive to the World Brewers Cup in May, he quipped, “I’m gonna square it. I’m gonna times it by three.

When asked if he plans on going to Disney Land, he asked us right back: “Can we go to Dollywood instead?”

Original photography by Charlie Burt for Sprudge.com.