Welcome! This feature is a compendium of our favorite tweets, photos, and .gifs from Day One at the 2013 Southwest Regional Barista Competition.’s live coverage of the SWRBC is made possible by direct support from Verve Coffee Roasters, and the entirety of our 2013 competition coverage is supported by our friends & partners at Nuova Simonelli. We’re proud to serve as the official Digital Media Sponsors throughout the 2013 competition season, with access and tabling provided by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

This work is a pleasure, a privilege, and a dream come true for Your Sprudge Editors. So with no further ado, let’s delve into Day One!


1. Justin Williams, Chromatic Coffee Co., San Francisco 

Justin Williams - Chromatic Coffee
Justin Williams – Chromatic Coffee

11:19 approachability, menu composition, & service – Mr. Williams’ sets out his routine concepts in the intro to his #SWRBC routine.

11:21 mr. williams on his cappuccino course: “orange, cream & caramel”

11:28 a dropped espresso demitasse, and mr. williams recovers & continues…huge roar in the crowd as he re-serves his espresso course

2.Eden-Marie Abramowicz, Intelligentsia Coffee, Los Angeles

Eden-Marie Abramowicz, Intelligentsia Coffee
Eden-Marie Abramowicz, Intelligentsia Coffee

11:41 Ms. Abramowicz competes using a coffee from the acclaimed finca San Sebastian, a farm in the Huila department of Colombia. Intelligentsia marks this coffee as “Tres Los Santos” – learn more here.

11:44 really interesting visual “stacking” of flavor components as Ms. Abramowicz talks the judges through her espresso course – brown sugar, raspberries, and grapefruit represented on stage

11:52 her sig drink: brewed coffee, grapefruit oil, brown sugar simple syrup, Tres Los Santos espresso

3. 12:12 Keith Garrett, Java Junction Coffee Roasting, Santa Cruz

Shake it out!

12:01 a pretty cool article ran this week in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on Mr. Garrett’s SWRBC prep. Check it out here.  

12:08 Mr. Garrett of Java Junction competes using a coffee from the Dukunde Kawa cooperative in Rwanda – we totes went there last summer with Fair Trade USA! Read more about Dukunde Kawa here.

Dusting the signature drink. Keith Garrett, Java Junction
Dusting the signature drink. Keith Garrett, Java Junction

12:16 Mr. Garrett’s sig drink: blackberry syrup, half & half steamed with brown sugar, whipped cream dusted with cacao

12:22 Mr. Garrett calls time at 14:57 – a well-honed routine, solid, competent, professional, all that good stuff

4. 12:50 Frank La, Cafe Dulce, Los Angeles

Frank La, Cafe Dulce
Frank La, Cafe Dulce

12:30 “as baristas, we’re part scientists, part activists, even part psychologists…”

12:31 Mr. La competes using a Colombian coffee from the Narino department, comprised of washed caturra / typica / castillo coffees, roasted by Verve.

12:42 his sig drink is based on breakfast: vanilla cream & chocolate, frosted flake cereal milk, a cherry jam reduction, and espresso.

12:46 a super sweet moment here at SWRBC, as MC Tony Serrano leads the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to Mr. La – happy birthday, Frank!

5. 1:09 Erica Koenig, Six Degrees Coffee Service, Chico, CA

Erika Koenig, Six Degrees Coffee Service
Erika Koenig, Six Degrees Coffee Service

12:51 “before I was a barista, I was the granddaughter of a farmer.” Family history informs this routine from Erika Koenig, which wound up being one of our favorites of the day.

12:55 Ms. Koenig competes using a blend from Thanksgiving Coffee called “The Contender”, comprised of Ethiopian, Bolivian, and Sumatran coffees

1:01 her signature drink includes her family’s own apricot jam – fruit grown by her grandfather, jam made by Ms. Koenig’s grandmother – along with local Chico honey, whipped cream, cardamom, and espresso

6. 1:28 Jonathen Liu, Cognoscenti Coffee, Los Angeles

Jonathen Liu, Cognoscenti Coffee
Jonathen Liu, Cognoscenti Coffee

1:08 if you’ve never been, Cognoscenti Coffee is a bomb dot com multi-roaster in the Culver City neighborhood of Los Angeles – highly highly recommended on your next LA trip

1:15 mr. liu’s service order: cappuccinos, sig drinks, espresso – he’s guiding the judges towards a concentrated set of flavors in his Heart Coffee Roasters Colombia Perla del Sur

1:20 sig drink: honey water base, espresso, cara cara orange & vanilla aromatic spray, orange cola “caviar” – he even makes a 5th sig drink to serve to the Head Judge, who in this case happens to be Matt Banbury of Joe NYC.

1:23 Mr. Liu calls time at 15 flat – as good on stage as he is in the shop, this was a huge routine from Jonathen Liu (plus he played Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know?”, which rules.)

7. 1:47 Ross Barclay, Independent, San Anselmo, CA

Mr. Barclay was a last-minute strike from the schedule. 

8. 2:06 Charles Babinski, G&B, Los Angeles

Charles Babinski, G&B
Charles Babinski, G&B

1:34 “I would like to think of myself as an accommodating person – that’s the job of the barista.” – Charles Babinski

1:37 Mr. Babinski competes using another fine Colombia coffee, from the Pedregal region and roasted by 49th Parallel in Vancouver, British Colombia (Editors note: we incorrectly reported on Twitter that Mr. Babinski’s coffee was roasted by Heart Coffee Roasters in Portland. We were wrong.)

1:40 this routine is based on Mr. Babinski’s at-times-contentious relationship with that baffling anomaly of the coffee world, the espresso lungo. What, pray tell, is an espresso lungo? It’s a shot pulled for an especially long amount of time, using a high volume of water. Wikipedia has more.

1:45 two diametrically opposed sig drinks to cap the routine – one with a 55 grams out lungo shot paired with orange blossom honey, another with pomegranate juice and sparkling water. lots was going on here – more details from us if and when Mr. Babinski runs this routine again.


1:46 Charles Babinski 2013 projected Starting Pitcher stats: 17-11, 2.72 era, 250 IP, 232 SO, 1.057 WHIP, 174 ERA+, 8.4 SO/9, 70 BB, 3 shut outs.

9. 2:25 Patrick Domres, Bellano Coffee, Santa Clara, CA

Patrick Domres, Bellano Coffee
Patrick Domres, Bellano Coffee

2:00 mr. domres walks the judges through “exploring acidity” – his coffee is Verve Coffee Roasters’ El Salvador La Torrero.

2:06 “in the cappuccinos, we’re calming down acidity to make the drink more approachable” – cappuccinos with flavor notes of “toasted almonds and dried apricots”

2:09 sig drink: vanilla simple syrup, blueberry reduction, hot water base – a kind of fancy americano

10. 2:44 Cesar Garcia, Ritual Coffee Roasters, San Francisco

Cesar Garcia, Ritual Coffee Roasters

2:20 this is Mr. Garcia’s first competition! he competes using Ritual’s Brazil Serra Negra, part of their Sweet Tooth line, with tasting notes of “raisin, sweet plum, and mexican chocolate”

2:28 “My favorite thing about being a barista and working at @ritualcoffee is my family when i’m working – my co-workers” – and as is tradition, there’s a sizable crew of Ritual team members here to support their competitor

2:32 it’s another family farm influenced routine – Mr. Garcia’s parents own an avocado farm. his sig drink: pineapple juice, coconut milk, damson plum, water, butterscotch, fresh avocado from his parent’s farm

11. 3:03 Sara Reynolds, The French Press, Santa Barbara

Sara Reynolds, The French Press
Sara Reynolds, The French Press

2:42 ms. reynolds competes at #SWRBC using a wet processed western Ethiopian coffee, marked as Michiti by Verve Coffee Roasters –  tea-like body, black cherry, floral aroma (currently unavailable online)

2:49 sara reynolds on her capps: “sweet vanilla with a nougat finish” – and on a side note, it nearly took all day, but we finally get Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie” on the loudspeakers

2:57 sara reynolds’ sig drink: cascara tea, Ethiopia Michiti espress, black cherry reduction – each in separate vessels, served in phases – “there are discoveries waiting for us at the bottom of every glass.”

12. 3:22 Robert Rybak, Augie’s Coffee House, Redlands, CA

Robert Rybak, Augie’s Coffee House

3:00 this is the first year in competition for Augie’s Coffee, a progressive specialty coffee roaster located around an hour east of Los Angeles – Mr. Rybak competes with their Ursus Arctos espresso blend.

3:05 assorted Robert Rybak quotes from throughout this routine: “you can get real intimate with this coffee, just so you know. REAL intimate.” — “it’s happening. it’s going in your mouth.” (Editor’s note: gurrrrl…)

3:15 sig drink includes melted chocolate, “which develops a little bit like espresso…see the crema?” – drinks down at 13:45 – time to clean, chat, talk through the citrus & blackberry compote notes in his sig drink

13. Casey Soloria, Intelligentsia Coffee, Pasadena

Casey Soloria, Intelligentsia Coffee
Casey Soloria, Intelligentsia Coffee

3:24 “why don’t we take a step back, and let aroma highlight those characteristics we love in coffee” – Mr. Soloria presents the judges with dry ground coffee, and asks them evaluate the smell.

3:28 mr. soloria competes w/ Intelligentsia’s Ethiopia Limu, which is totes unavailable on the internet right now – they just got through the end of this coffee’s run. whatever, who cares about links.

Casey Soloria, Intelligentsia Coffee
Casey Soloria, Intelligentsia Coffee

3:33 mr. soloria’s sig drink: honey, butter, lavender & kumquat, pressed together & topped Intelli Ethiopia Limu espresso. He adds jussst the right amount of that lavender butter using an eye dropper (see above)

14. William Churchill, Java Station, Santa Barbara

William Churchill, Java Station
William Churchill, Java Station

3:45 mr. churchill on his espressos: “light orange citrus, a cedar wood tone, sweet sugar cane, salted caramel” – couldn’t make out which coffee he’s using here in the room, which is why blogging this stuff live is very, very different than sitting at home with your headphones on.

3:49 “I am ultimately a cappuccino fan” – William Churchill of Java Station, whose website we can’t link to because it’s totes broken.

3:55 sig drink is “my version of a caramel macchiato” – salted caramel, espresso, milk, and a dash of #realness no doubt.

15. Charles Biando, Sightglass Coffee, Bay Area

Charles Biando, Sightglass Coffee
Charles Biando, Sightglass Coffee

4:01 Mr. Biando competes using Sightglass Colombia El Meridiano, from the Tolima region – learn more.

4:09 Mr. Biando’s sig drink is meant to mimic cupping – dry fragrance (muscovado sugar), wet fragrance (pecan, blackberry) – “cupping…gives me a chance to check out aromatics and fragrances sometimes lost in brewing”

4:12 his sig drink adds espresso to blueberry, red currant, & sugar reduction – served to the judges with a cupping spoon, with the judges asked to “slurp” the drink using their cupping spoons, mimicking the cupping experience

4:14 Mr. Biando does a quick jog off stage for a lost sig drink component – caramels to finish the flavor experience – and is back to finish his service and call time at 15:54

16. Jasper Wilde, Verve Coffee Roasters, Santa Cruz, CA

Jasper Wilde, Verve Coffee Roasters
Jasper Wilde, Verve Coffee Roasters

4:21 “coffee is amazing in the way it presents itself to us, and no two people experience it the same way” – Jasper Wilde

4:23 Ms. Wilde competes using a reserve lot of Verve’s Ciriaco Quispe, a Peruvian coffee not available online, yielding espressos with “dark chocolate, grapefruit in the finish, and a light viscosity”

4:27 Ms. Wilde on her capps: “melted butter, malt chocolate, silky mouth-hugging texture of the foam, creamy liquid”

4:34 sig drink: dark chocolate, almond infused whipping cream, butter (!), ruby red grapefruit & valencia orange reduction…there’s been a lot of butter today at SWRBC. maybe that’s what the “B” stands for.