United States Barista Championship
The last day of the SCAA Expo is also the culmination of the United States Barista Championship, where a new king was crowned by Mike Phillips, 2010 US Barista Champ and current World Champion. Pete Licata from Honolulu Coffee Company took the title and will represent the US at the World Barista Championship in Bogota, Colombia this June. Pete has won four regional titles, including two Midwest and two Southwest Championships, making him a fairly experienced veteran in the world of barista competitions. All of his hard-work has finally paid off, giving him and his impressive beard a shot at the world title. Congrats to Pete and good luck in June!
Mike Phillips about to announce the new US Barista Champion.
The top 3 competitors, Ryan Knapp (3rd), Nik Krankl (2nd) & Pete Licata (1st).
Ryan Knapp, who came in 3rd place from Madcap Coffee, getting his tamp on.
Ben Kaminsky, came in 6th place representing Ritual Coffee in the Brewers Cup and took home the USBC Cup Taster’s Award for the third year in a row.
Here’s a look at some of new products at the show—in addition to the ones I posted on day one—these stood out the most. Overall I was underwhelmed by what I saw, but there were a few things I was stoked to see in person and a few I hadn’t seen before.
The official SCAA Best New Product Award for (Consumer & Commercial) went to Baratza’s new Essato and Vario-E weight based grinders. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I think they’re only needed for a very specific situation—very low volume cafés offering brew-by-the-cup—but I’m sure there are a number of home coffee aficionados who will drop the cash for these as well.
The Clever Coffee Dripper (or Abid or Mr. Clever) will now come in smaller 13oz sizes as well as a range of opaque colors to expand the companies product line.
Technivorm has a new grinder that pairs with their Moccamaster drip brewers. It costs $199 and only has one grind setting—the Moccamaster grind. It removes all guesswork for your mom and dad, as well as all flexibility for everyone else. Even more interesting than it’s lack of grind adjustment is how it works. The KM4 grinders are inverted blade grinders with a fan that blows the coffee through the blade to prevent over-heating and create more consistency with less powder.
A couple prototypes of the Crossland automated pour-over machine that can work with a variety of brew methods. Pretty impressive range of control over the water-flow and circular motion of the pour. He was a bit paranoid about photographs though. There’s definitely more polite ways to ask someone to stop taking photos than barking that they’ve taken more than enough.
The newest Rancilio espresso machines really stood out. I loved their modest but refined functional aesthetic. This is the new Classe 7 which features the YouSteam dual function steam wand.
The Mypressi Twist has some nice looking stands coming out soon that not only display it nicely on a counter, but makes it function a bit more like a stationary machine instead of a handheld. No price available yet.
I’m not a big thermos person, but I liked these locking, flip-lid stainless steel travel mugs from Zojirushi.
If I could designate a Worst New Product Award, it would go to the Xpress Smartcup—a disposable French press. There’s nothing smart about making one of the biggest environmental issues in the coffee industry—disposable cups—and adding more plastic junk to the equation. Xpress has taken one of the most eco-friendly methods of brewing coffee and given it the finger.
My second day of the SCAA Expo began with a lecture titled “Craft Brewing by Hand in a Café Environment.” The session consisted of 4 industry professionals discussing their individual brew-by-the-cup environments and their advice on creating or switching to a similar program. The panel included Kyle Glanville (Intelligentsia & Coffee Common committee member), Jay Caragay (Spro Coffee), John Piquet (Caffe d’Bolla) and Anthony Rue (Volta Coffee). Each panel member shared thoughts supporting the decision to only offer brew-by-the-cup coffee—not that I needed convincing—and discussed the benefits of doing it.
A few memorable quotes from the session:
“The Japanese treat both their food and drinks with great respect.” -John P.
“Define a standard of excellence for your company and stick to it. You will be rewarded.” -John P.
“Empower and trust your staff.” -Anthony R.
“When the customer leaves, we want them to be stoked on their experience.” -Jay C.
“Batch brewing in conjunction with by-the-cup will force by-the-cup to take a back seat. -Kyle G.
“Coffee under $2 should be over—pronto.” -Kyle G.
“You have to be fearless when you go all-in with by-the-cup brewing. -John P.
The second session I attended was about developing a social media strategy for your business. Tara Shenson, New Media Manager of the SCAA, was extremely engaging and delivered a pretty comprehensive talk on new media tools. Though I didn’t learn anything new—Tara warned it was a beginner’s course—I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I had a number of fine coffees this morning at the Counter Culture pop-up café. The sun-dried Sidamo was pulling pretty fantastic as a single origin espresso.
The Bunn Trifecta was in full effecta next to the Brewers Cup stage. I stopped by for a demo and a cup of the Hacienda la Esmeralda that’s being used by the competitors.
I spent the second half of the day watching the remaining USBC semi-finalists compete. My top pick, Sam Purvis from Coava Coffee, sadly didn’t make the final six.
However, the North Central Regional Champ, Ryan Knapp from MadCap Coffee (and owner Trevor Corlett)—who were both favorites of mine—have both advanced to the Finals. Good luck guys!
After the finalists were announced, about 400 attendees headed to Saint Arnold Brewing Company for dinner and some fine Texas beer thanks to the guys at Cuvée Coffee.
Another full day of good coffee and friends at the SCAA Expo has come to an end.
posted by bwj
on 05.01.2011, under Misc.