We're very excited to announce that Sprudge.com founding editors Zachary Carlsen and Jordan Michelman will be traveling to London in early April for the purposes of covering the 2014 United Kingdom Barista Championship. Our impending coverage as official media partners will be produced in concert with the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe's UK Chapter. Sprudge.com's coverage at the 2014 UKBC will be made possible in part by direct support from Cafe Imports, a US-based green coffee importer with warehousing in the United Kingdom.
Sprudge.com, an international coffee publication based in Portland, Oregon, has served as an official media partner of the Specialty Coffee Association of America for the last several seasons, exhaustively documenting the United States Barista Championship cycle at the regional and national level. UKBC 2014 marks the first time we've brought our industry-leading style of live barista competition coverage to another country's national championship, although we've of course called UK competitors before in our coverage of World Barista Championship events in London, Bogota, Vienna, and Melbourne.
Unfamiliar with our barista competition coverage? Check out how we've covered 2014 US Barista Championship events in Minneapolis, Durham, and Los Angeles. Review all of our 2013 USBC coverage here, and our 2013 World Barista Championship coverage from Melbourne here. We're very excited to bring this style of reporting to London, where we'll be reporting live from the 2014 London Coffee Festival!
Why the UKBC?
Because the United Kingdom can rightfully claim one of the very best barista competition cultures on the planet. The UK is home to two past World Barista Champions – Gwilym Davies in 2009 and James Hoffmann in 2007 – as well as World Barista Championship finalists in 2012 (Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood) and 2011 (John Gordon). We consider whoever wins the UKBC this year to be a frontrunner for Top 6 and an appearance on Finals Sunday at the 2014 World Barista Championship in Rimini, Italy.
We had a precedent for outstanding UKBC coverage set for us at the 2013 nationals, with Sprudge correspondent Elyse Bouvier filing extensive coverage from the event. Our 2014 UKBC coverage is already well under way, with correspondents Nico Holliday and Kate Beard filing multiple features from the Birmingham SuperHeats back in February.
Sprudge has a strong base of readership in the United Kingdom, with the site being ready daily by everyone from casual onlookers and media lovers to the very barista competitors we'll be covering at UKBC. Our time in London will of course include more than just competition coverage, so expect heaps of photos and features on top cafes across the city, from old favorites to brand new destinations.
How do I follow your coverage?
We make it simple by Tweeting ceaselessly via the @SprudgeLive Twitter feed. This is where you can follow along live with pertinent details and memorable moments from every UKBC competition routine; it's also where we'll be calling out the Top 6 as they're announced on the evening of Saturday, April 5th, and of course the new UKBC champion on the evening of Sunday, April 6th. You should please also follow along with regular updates posted right here on Sprudge.com, including photos and information from every last routine at semi-finals and finals.
Why aren't you covering my country's national championship?
We'd very much like to, and this may not be the last non-US national we attend in 2014. The style of coverage we produce at these events is exhaustive and frankly exhausting, and so we must be careful in how we choose to expand it. But yes, to answer your question in a roundabout way, we are expanding our barista competition coverage to include more national championships, and that may someday mean yours. Stay tuned.
I am an American / Australian / Canadian / Kiwi / German / Parisian / etc, so why do I care about these United Kingdom baristas?
Because United Kingdom baristas help drive the world. These UK events are full of wild ideas, executed smartly; calculated risks that can pay off big or fall flat. If you're a barista competition fan anywhere in the world, you want to watch the UK nationals as closely as any other event leading up to the World Barista Championship. We consider several of these UK competitors to be potential finalists at the 2014 WBC. Ignore the UK at your own peril.
Need a UKBC primer? Check out our guide to Everything You Need To Know About the 2014 UKBC, a feature by our London-based correspondent Kate Beard. Want to know who's competing? Here's Everyone That's Eligible For The 2014 UKBC.