Samuel Lewontin is your newly crowned 2013 Northeast Regional Barista Competition champion! Mr. Lewontin is the manager at Everyman Espresso SoHo, a dedicated Counter Culture Coffee account located at 301 W. Broadway in New York City. Mr. Lewontin competed and won at the NERBC using Counter Culture's Burundi Mpemba, from the Kazoza N'Ikawa cooperative.
In his 15 minute competition routine, Mr. Lewontin highlighted this coffee's fruit and citrus notes, achieved by a unique “eco-pulping” method at Mpemba wet mill in Burundi. Like nearly all Burundian and Rwandan coffees, the coffee Mr. Lewontin served was comprised mainly of the Bourbon variety. The espresso Mr. Lewontin brewed was based on a 1.7 to 1 brew ratio, with an extraction time of 25 seconds. Throughout his routine, Sam focused on simplicity and expertise, culminating in a deceptively simple signature drink. Based on flavor descriptor cards the sensory judges chose, the drink could have been up to sixteen different combinations of ingredients – a kind of “choose your own adventure” signature drink. Ultimately, Mr. Lewontin's drink combined a ginger syrup spritz, date syrup, a 5% malic acidity solution, and espresso into glassware for each judge, with the lip of said glasses rimmed with fresh cut ginger.
This is Sam Lewontin's first regional barista competition win – he goes on to earn an automatic bye into semi-finals at the 2013 United States Barista Competition, happening April 11th-14th in Boston. Along with a lot of great coffee gear and prizes, Mr. Lewontin wins a trip to Kenya this coming November with the folks at Cafe Imports.