What a wild ride it has been! After weeks of head-to-head battles, pitting some of your favorite coffee things against one another in a fight for caffeinated supremacy, the 2023 Sprudge Ultimate Coffee Bracket Challenge has come to its thrilling conclusion. This year saw the field expand from 32 to a whopping 64 entries, broken down into four different regions: Coffee Drinks, Cafe Food, Coffee Cocktails, and Brew Methods.

And yet, even with the added competition, it ended like it had the past two years, with Espresso going against v60. The pour-over brewer had gotten the best of the iconic cafe staple in both of the two meetings. Would this be the year that Espresso broke the curse and finally took home the gold?

No, it would not. V60 once again came out victorious.

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Leading up to the Finals, v60 ran through all comers with relative ease. Moka Pot, AeroPress, Chemex, none could match the dominance of the mighty conical brewer. The closest thing to a scare v60 received was against Croissant in the Final Four, the seven seed from the Cafe Food region. But Croissant’s Cinderella story came to a close at the hands of v60, who squeaked by with just 69% of the total vote, over doubling the total votes the buttery pastry received.

The Finals would be different, though, as these two bitter rivals (but really, if made properly, both should be quite sweet) went mano a mano to decide it all. Espresso, this year’s overall favorite, kept it close for the entirety of the voting; v60 held the lead from wire to wire, but they were a small surge of votes from the Italian contingent away from being fed their first loss.

But v60 held firm, winning by a final score of 54 to 46, the closest match for v60, not just in this tournament but in all three years of the Ultimate Coffee Bracket Challenge. With the three-peat secure, v60 can rightly be considered a dynasty at this point. Espresso will have to spend yet another year as the bridesmaid—or Buffalo Bills, or Susan Lucci, or whatever your preferred metaphor is for being a perpetual runner-up.

Thanks for tuning in this year for another fun of the Sprudge Ultimate Coffee Bracket Challenge, and an extra big thank you to the thousands upon thousands of you who cast a vote (sometimes wrongly. I’ll never forgive you for what you did to Breakfast Tacos and Chemex). We couldn’t have done it without you.

The Sprudge Ultimate Coffee Bracket will return same time next year for more bracksprology fun. The Committee has 350 days to devise a new format to keep y’all from indulging in your more boring impulses and putting Espresso and v60 in the Finals… again.

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