Last Week With Ben Blake: Week of January 26th, 2013

photoThe very best from in coffee news from Sprudge intern Ben Blake. Check out more of his art at Draw Coffee Dot Com. 

BCRBC In Requiem:

The 2013 Big Central Regional Barista Championship crowned its new champions this week after three days of jam-packed barista routines and Brewer’s Cup sessions in Kansas City. We were thrilled to cover the entire event thanks to our friends at Nuova Simonelli, PTs Coffee Roasters, and Kaldi’s Coffee. Big Central is a massive event, loaded with talented coffee professionals from all over the middle of the US, and we put together a whole heck of a lot of coverage for it.

Here are your 2013 BCRBC Champions:

North Central Barista Champion: Charlie Habegger, Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea
North Central Brewer’s Cup Champion: Jon Ferguson, Dogwood Coffee Company
South Central Barista Champion: Pete Licata, Parisi Artisan Coffee
South Central Brewer’s Cup Champion: Jonathan Aldrich, Houndstooth Coffee

Mr. Habegger and Mr. Licata receive automatic births into the 2013 United States Barista Championship semi-finals, and they will be joining SERBC champ Lem Butler on the 2013 Cafe Imports Origin Trip to Kenya.

Congratulations to all! And there’s more on the coverage front, as we just recently published these in-depth, oddly personal essays for each of the 12 North Central and South Central Barista Competition finalists, with photography by Charlie Burt. Be sure to follow @SprudgeLive for coverage of this weekend’s Northwest Regional Barista Championship, and watch Sprudge.com all week long for schedules, previews, and more!

Sanapo Snags Italian Barista Championship

On the international competitive coffee front, the Italian Barista Champion wrapped up earlier this week in Rimini, Italy, with Francesco Sanapo taking home the gold. Feel free to congratulate him on Twitter @SanapoFrancesco – he’ll be stoked.  This is Mr. Sanapo’s third National Championship in the last four years, which is an impressive feat. He now holds the IBC title in 2010, 2011, and now 2013. Complimenti, Francesco!

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Also worth noting—this year’s IBC was the first time a World Coffee Events sanctioned competition utilized live scoring from the judges. The scores were displayed at the end of each performance. Developing…

In the meantime, here’s a cool profile we did on Francesco back in September 2011.

Meister Talks Hidden Costs of Coffee
Sprudgie Award-winning writer Erin Meister broke down the hidden costs of coffee in the latest in her series of articles for Serious Eats. Meister’s experience at Counter Culture has helped her gain invaluable insight into all the intricacies of coffee expenses that often go overlooked by the average consumer. This is a fantastic and important piece of educational work.

Man Uses Coffee to Help Remove Explosives

A unique coffee-charity collaboration comes to us from Kronenweiter, Wisconsin resident Jim Harris, founder of the group “We Help War Victims.” Mr. Harris, a retired elementary school principal, uses income generated from selling coffee to fund the removal of unexploded bombs, mines, and other dangerous, buried explosives in the country of Laos. This process helps make fields and other landscapes safe for residents, still affected decades later by 20th century conflicts. The coffee Mr. Harris imports and sells is grown in Laos, on some of the ground he has helped clear in the past.

Yes, You Can Bathe In Coffee.

But where?

If you answered “in my bathtub,” you’re only halfway right. The real answer is, “at a Hot Springs Amusement Park in Japan” of course! More bizarre (and wonderful) details here.

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San Francisco’s Newest Multiroaster

Our own Zachery Carlsen learns more about Stanza, a unique multiroaster in SF’s Mission District. The cafe stands apart by offering coffees from around the country—anywhere but San Francisco—and even encourages home roasters to share their coffees. Stanza features a Slayer Espresso machine, and is the first high-end cafe we’ve seen to successfully offer guest roaster spots to home roaster hobbyists.

A Quick Reminder…

The most extreme coffee contest in the history of extreme coffee contests wraps up in only 5 days time! Be sure to Instagram (or email) your #XtremeKone pictures and brewing recipes by the end of January 31st for your chance to win all kinds of goodies, including round trip flights to Portland and a stay at the wonderful Ace Hotel from the folks at Able Brewing. Check here for more details.

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SNL On Starbucks

Check out this rib-tickling SNL spoof of the Starbucks Verismo Home Machine—get the Starbucks experience right in your kitchen, misspelled names and all. Plenty of folks wrote in about this one, so thanks y’all for the hot tips. Do you have a hot tip for Sprudge? Write us at tips@Sprudge.com