Our coverage of the 2012 United States Barista Championship is sponsored by Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

Photography by Sprudge contributor Alex Negranza.


26. Cole McBride, Visions Espresso / Veltons, Seattle @colecoffee @visionsespresso

9:24 @colecoffee talks through his capps in “3 sips”: orange cream, butterscotch, bakers chocolate

9:28 mr. mcbride competes using @veltonscoffee hondurana pacas – learn more about velton’s here: https://www.veltonscoffee.com/

9:31 @colecoffee sig drink: egg white cream, orange blossom water, fresh ginger, gum arabic, grapefruit juice

27. Talya Strader, Intelligentsia, Chicago @talyastrader, @intelligentsia

9:40 “i really like coffees that juicy, sweet, fruit forward…a fig or an apple coming right through”

9:48 @talyastrader has this serene, knowledgeable, yet playful streak in her routine…as a high compliment, it’s martha stewart-esque

29. Truman Severson, Portola Coffee Lab, Costa Mesa, CA @trumanseverson, @portolacoffee

10:23 “one thing i want to talk about today is versatility” – serves espressos and capps from the same extraction

10:24 mr. severson is a disbeliever in the “espresso goes bad when it sits” trope. he and @coffeeandbikes should chat

30. Laila Ghambari, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, PDX @lay_luh @stumptowncoffee

10:35 “last month i visited a coffee farm for the very first time…i had a personal experience, something tangible”

10:37 she hands out a map of finca el injerto to her judges – “it’s an 8 hour drive from guatemala city to get there”

10:40 coffees used include el tonque and la cima, both from finca el injerto

10:50 well that lived up to the hype. @lay_luh takes us to finca el injerto, walks us around the farm, drops knowledge

31. Caitlin Corcoran, Parisi Cafe, Kansas City, MO @caitcork, @parisicoffee

10:55 “in the words of slain rapper tupac shakur, i am a reflection of my community” – @caitcork. the tupac hologram surely approves.

11:07 @caitcork‘s routine is a mirror of her SC routine – sig drink is a DELICIOUS handmade shrub with espresso

32. Chandler Rentz, Batdorf & Bronson, ATL @chandlerrentz @batdorfcoffee

11:29 @chandlerrentz steady hands on stage, looks like he’s feeling good up there

11:38 mr. rentz competes using @batdorfcoffee guatemala finca el valle – learn more here

33. Courtney Marie Vaquera, MadCap Coffee Roasters, Grand Rapids, MI @madcapcoffee

11:44 courtney calls out notes of “grapefruit, acidity, molasses sweetness, blackberry at the bottom” for her espresso

11:49 in the #usbc2012, courtney vaquera competes using @madcap‘s colombia san sebastian – learn more here

34. Lem Butler, Counter Culture Coffee, Durham, NC @sexyfoam @counter_culture

12:09 sig drink: focuses on acids (83g phosphoric acid) and chlorogenic acid (grapefruit juice) w/ sugar and .2g black pepper

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12:10 reduces, strains, places in an ice bath, pulls shots – aerates shots & reduction together – voila!

12:15 watching @sexyfoam is a compelling argument for barista comp as athletics. he’s a boxer… a knowledgeable boxer.

35. Camila Ramos, Panther Coffee, Miami @milamos @panthercoffee

12:21 @milamos and @panthercoffee were delightful discoveries this year – serious coffee and competition work going on down in miami

12:28 sig drink mimics the cuban cordatio experience in the cuban coffee houses of her youth – vaporized cigar smoke and all


36. Isaiah Sheese, Anodyne Coffee Roasters, Milwaukee, WI @anodynecoffee

12:36 “during the harvest, there are no weekends. there is no christmas.”

12:38 mr. sheese competes using two different roasters – @anodynecoffee and @topecacoffee (tulsa) – but the same “HG natural” el salvador coffee

37. Robbie Britt, Espresso Parts, Morley, MO @robbiebritt @espressoparts_

1:02 capps: “tasting notes are pretty straightforward: raspberries & dark chocolate.the focus of this beverage is texture”

1:03 provides a tangible example to judges to explain his espresso’s color – a chemex with wood handle and leather tassle

1:04 providing a concrete reference point for color is ideal for the judges, and could very much play into score sheets

1:08 complex sig drink: coffee cherry tisane, honey, blender, espresso – all about texture

38. Percy Ramirez, Intelligentsia, LA @IntelliPasadena

1:23 “the nicest guy in coffee” – it may well be true.

1:29 another impressive performance from @percyR_ – with a nice crowd of @intelligentsia folks in attendance

39. Travis Beckett, Peregrine Espresso, DC @juicegarden @peregrinedc

1:40 @juicegarden travis beckett of @peregrineDC competes using @counter_culture‘s idido sun dried ethiopian coffee.

1:42 a calm, clever, genuine and personal routine from mr. beckett

40. Nora Brady, Kaldi’s Coffee Roasters, St. Louis @kaldis_coffee

2:06 nora brady of @kaldis_coffee has a quiet self-assuredness on stage. no wasted words or motions. #usbc2012 is her first national performance

41. Greg Lefcourt, OZO Coffee Company, Boulder, CO @ozocoffee

2:12 greg competes using ecuador la libertad espresso roasted by @ozocoffee – grown at an elevation even higher than denver!

2:13 mr. lefcourt’s sig drink includes espresso, honey and chamomile – “paying homage to the life cycle of this coffee”

42. Kevin Bohlin, Ritual Coffee Roasters, San Francisco @kgbohlin @ritualcoffee

3:16i uh, am blown away by what’s happening right now

3:18 we’ll post pictures… some kinda dried ice smoke bomb thing…you just have to see it.

43. Brady MacDonald, Urban Coffee Lounge, Kirkland, WA @braideee @_ucl

3:22 mr. macdonald is one of only 5 competitors from western washington state at #usbc2012

3:25 earl gray ice cube, yirgacheffe cold brew – “it even gets more fun” – cola with meyer lemon, mint & ginger for aromatics

3:32 mr. macdonald competes w/ coffee from adado cooperative sw ethiopia – goes into serious detail on coop infrastructure improvements

44. Chris Baca, Verve Coffee Roasters, Santa Cruz, CA @trubaca @vervecoffee

3:41 so baca starts by giving like a 4 minute college-level lecture on global environmental stability & coffee processing

3:50 @trubaca‘s coffee is from panama’s first-ever organic cert farm – honey & natural processed coffees w/ much less waste vs. washing

3:52 @trubaca‘s competition coffee is organic panama las lajones – it has a pretty cool website – check it out: http://www.loslajonesestate.com/eng/

45. Michael Harwood, Caffe Driade, Carrboro, NC @bluebarista @caffedriade

4:01 routine focused on variety – pacamara for the capps with dark chocolate, caramel, spice, milk chocolate, mango

4:13 sig drink: mango apple cider shrub, applle cherry balsamic shrub, both took a 10 days to make – adds both espressos

46. Dustin Mattson, Octane Coffee, ATL @DustinColeMmm @octanecoffee

4:29 sig drink: date reduction & honey syrup made with coffee blossom honey from his coffee’s farm

4:33 top notch poised performance, calls time at 15:11 – among the longest distance traveled performers, doing ATL proud

47. Sarah Dooley, La Marzocco USA, Seattle @sarahdooley @lamarzocco

4:38 “when customers trust us, they believe what we say, & they taste what we say, & that’s so important”

4:42  consistently jealous of the judges when @sarahdooley is performing. her performance demeanor is always so inviting

4:50 comfort and service. sarahuses a grinder sieve to separate ground coffee density – super unique

48. Phillip Search, Dallis Bros. Coffee, NYC @phineas984 @dalliscoffee

5:00 mr. search so intense on stage, but in a pleasant way. at turns focused, sweet, direct, present, talkative

5:02 also he’s got a very rustic looking custom grinder contraption.

5:09 here we go, he’s making ice cream on stage… @phineas984 consistently offers a most difficult sig drink, in regionals and at #usbc2012

49. Jacque DesMarais, Kaldi’s Coffee Roasters, St. Louis @jacquedesmarais, @kaldis_coffee

5:12 2 competitors left – the second to the last is @JacqueDesMarais representing @kaldis_coffee from st. louis, missouri

5:15 it was a pleasure to watch ms. desmarais place in the finals at south central, and awesome to see this routine again

50. Devorah Freudiger, Equator Coffees and Teas, San Rafael, CA @equatorcoffees

5:40 capps with “classic cheesecake notes: cherry topping, graham cracker crust” – devorah of @equatorcoffees

5:43 we should all keep this routine loaded on our phones, to answer the question – “what’s a barista competition?”

5:44 devorah’s routine is like some lovely segment on a dream coffee / cooking tv show hybrid. @foodnetwork eh?

5:48 no srsly you could put a lot of these routines on tv, but this is the one to show mom and dad

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