Four cappuccinos. Four espressos. Four signature drinks. It's a format that barista competition competitors and judges around the world know well, but on Thursday, May 15th at Neptune Coffee in Seattle, 2014 United States Barista Championship finalist Cole McBride will be presenting his competition presentation in a rare series of public services.
We've heard of cafes and roasters featuring special competition roasts, or serving competition coffee inside a cafe, but we've never heard of something quite like this. Mr. McBride is offering four individual seatings beginning at 12:30pm, with four guest spots per service, in which he'll present a recreation of the routine that helped him place fourth overall at the 2014 USBC. This includes a chance to try the coffees Mr. McBride served his judges at that event: Costa Rica Los Lojas Yellow Honey for espresso and signature beverage, and Ecuador Taza Dorada #1 for cappuccinos, both sourced in partnership with Cafe Imports and roasted by Velton Ross of Velton's Coffee.
“This is something Velton and I have wanted to do for a while,” McBride told Sprudge, “to be able to offer a coffee service after one of the competitions in as similar to a competition style as possible.” In addition to recreating his USBC performance (including a yuzu drinking vinegar, espresso, and green tea signature drink), guests can expect an open dialogue with Mr. McBride: “If they have questions about how Velton and I chose the coffees, what my experiences have been like, or anything like that, it'll be an open forum–and if anyone wants to know more about my score sheet, and how I scored in certain areas, I'll talk about that, too.”
McBride chose Neptune to host this event for a variety of reasons. “For starters, Neptune is Velton's account,” he told us. McBride's longstanding partnership with Velton Ross was featured explicitly throughout his 2014 USBC routine. “I'm there to volunteer my time for all these years Velton has poured money into my coffee.” McBride has also worked previously at Neptune as a barista, calling the shop “my favorite place I've worked coffee service, outside of Vivace.”
It's also something of a Seattle goodbye for Cole McBride, a longtime Seattle coffee industry veteran departs for Las Vegas next week, where he'll helm the front of house and coffee service at PublicUS, the long-awaited restaurant / cocktail / cafe concept from self-proclaimed “coffeehouse junkie” Nicholas Akiona. Described by McBride as having a “clean, beautiful design, with amazing coffee and food” inspired by top cafes in cities like Melbourne and London, PublicUS is slated to open summer 2014. The cafe's coffee service will feature a 3 group Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine, custom built doserless Anfim Super Camano espresso grinders, a brewed coffee service anchored by the coveted Mahlkonig EK43, and coffees roasted by–who else?–Velton Ross of Velton's.
Seats for McBride's Seattle event at Neptune Coffee cost $12.50 per person. With just 16 total seats available, interested parties are encouraged to move swiftly over to the event's Facebook page to reserve their spot, or sign up in person at Neptune.
Neptune Coffee is located at 8415 Greenwood Avenue in Seattle, Washington.
Photos by Charlie Burt for Sprudge.com.