Breaking here live from Melbourne, we’re overjoyed to report that 2013 United States Brewers Cup Champion James McCarthy has sealed the deal on the world’s biggest stage – he’s your 2013 World Brewers Cup champion!  James traveled, competed, and won (!) alongside his dedicated brewing coaches Katie Carguilo (Counter Culture Coffee, 2012 United States Barista Champion) and Sam Penix (Everyman Espresso, US regional certified judge). All were there to share in the revelry and excitement, and let’s be real here, go ahead and count us among them – we’re just overwhelmed and excited for Mr. McCarthy, who now wears the crown as Planet Earth’s premiere coffee brewer.

Here’s a complete breakdown of the 2013 World Brewers Cup Championship rankings:

6. Tibor Varady (Espresso Embassy, Hungary)

5. Carolina Franco de Souza (Lucca Cafes Especialias, Brazil)

4. Sang Ho Park (Square Mile Coffee Roasters, United Kingdom)

3. Josh Tarlo (Pig Iron Coffee Roasters, Canada)

2. Jung InSung (Koreait College, South Korea)

1. James McCarthy (Counter Culture Coffee, United States)


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Mr. McCarthy competed (and won!) using Counter Culture’s roast of Hacienda Esmeralda Geisha, a “linolot” produced by the groundbreaking Peterson Family at their farm in Boquete, Panama. Here’s James’ winning brew method:

The Gear:
Kalita Wave
Three Kettles (two flow restricted)

The Ingredients:
24 grams of Esmeralda Lino Lot (roasted by Counter Culture Coffee)
Coarse grind, fines sifted: “We sifted them fines, gurl.” – Katie Carguilo
380ml of water, just off boil

The Recipe:
Use high flow kettle for the first half of brewing.
45 second bloom
Use flow restricted kettles two at a time, maintaining a column of water above the grounds
The flow restricted kettle “limits agitation in the brew bed because the column of water on top absorbs it, that way it pulls out sweetness of coffee and not the bitterness associated with over extraction”
Total brew time: 3:30

To give the routine a little razzle dazzle, James used a gorgeous hand-built wood tray. With the help of Counter Culture Coffee‘s designers and Katie Carguilo, James developed this beautiful signage:


James McCarthy is a machine technician at Counter Culture Coffee in New York City. Mr. McCarthy has been brewing coffee for the last ten years, getting his start at Gimme Coffee in Ithica, as well as spending a year in Athens, Georgia as a roaster for 1000 Faces. He moved back to New York City in 2009, four years ago.

Over some Bulliet bourbon, we asked McCarthy a few pointed questions:


Now that you’re the best brewer in the world, what are you going to do next?

“Go to Dollywood!”

You told us that when you won the US Brewers Cup.

“I did? Oh, well I haven’t had time. Actually, I am going to New Zealand with Sam Penix from Thursday to Thursday.”

Awesome! Auckland? 

“Auckland, yeah, and we’re going to try to get to Wellington.”


Hey you Kiwis – if you’re reading this, and you’ll be ’round New Zealand, you ought to strongly consider getting together with Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Penix. 



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