8 of the world’s great coffee cities

By noreply@blogger.com (liQuid heaVen Global)

Scandinavians drink more coffee per head than anyone else.
(CNN) — Fifteenth-century Arabs were the first to cultivate coffee and a Frenchman was behind the 1843 debut of the world’s first commercial espresso machine. There have been a few leaps forward since then.
“People are more and more interested in where the beans come from, and how they’re harvested and roasted,” says New Zealand barista champion Nick Clark of Wellington’s Flight Coffee.
“There are so many variables involved in producing a great cup of coffee these days, and the industry has had to evolve to meet growing consumer expectations.”
The world’s best coffee cities are those where the coffee isn’t just good — it’s great.
Aussies and Kiwis opened the city’s first espresso-focused coffee shops (such as Flat White and Kaffeine) a decade ago and they’ve been popping up across the city ever since.
“London still has a long way to go with café service, but in the past five years there’s been so much growth, which is a great thing to be part of,” says Estelle Bright, head barista at London’s Caravan.
Local order: Flat white or cappuccino.
“London is still in the grip of the flat white craze, but cappuccinos are similarly popular,” says Bright.
Top shops: East London boasts the highest concentration of quality coffee shops and cafes. Allpress,
“The coffee culture in Melbourne is just incredible,” says reigning World Barista Champion Pete Licata, from the United States.
Coffee is such an integral part of the Melbourne lifestyle that the city even hosts an annual coffee expo.
Local order: Piccolo latte.
While lattes, cappuccinos and flat whites remain popular, piccolo lattes (made with less milk so the espresso tastes stronger) are the drink du jour.
Top shops: “It’s nearly impossible to find a bad cup of coffee in Melbourne,” says Licata.
For real coffee purists, there’s Axil Coffeehouse Roasters in Hawthorn (322 Burwood Road), Auction
Scandinavians drink more coffee per head than anyone else.
Reykjavik, Iceland
After the Dutch, Scandinavians have the highest coffee consumption per capita in the world.
While Finns drink the most among Scandinavians, Icelanders are also coffee crazy.
“Not too long ago, cafés in Reykjavík were more about the food,” says Kristin Thora, a barista at Icelandic institution Kaffitar and reigning National Cupping Champion.
“You’d have coffee and cake and didn’t mind how the coffee was as long as the cake was good.
“Then, about 25 years ago, people started to care about how their coffee was served.”
With Iceland’s lack of commercial coffee behemoths, smaller businesses have had a chance to flourish.
Now you can hardly walk a city block without passing a coffee shop.
Local order: Latte or cappuccino.
“Drip coffee is popular in the home, but Icelanders tend go to coffeehouses for espresso-based drinks,” says Thora.
Top shops: With seven coffee shops and a roaster to its name, Kaffitar is the closest thing Iceland has to a coffee chain. Stofan and Kaffismidja are hipster faves.
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Source: LiquidHeaven

By Llewellyn Sinclair

tim wendelboe coffee prices 2013

Our friends and partners at Tim Wendelboe have just released their annual price transparency report for 2013. These sorts of reports are becoming increasingly popular–Counter Culture Coffee have been releasing theirs for four years, and this is the third year of TW reporting the prices they pay for green coffee. Tim Wendelboe has also done quite a bit of writing on their blog about coffee trade questions, and how coffee is still “too cheap.

If you want to learn more about the nuts and bolts of how coffee is purchased, these kinds of reports can be a valuable point of entry. For what it’s worth, the release of reports like this one (and the annual Counter Culture report) have greatly this publication’s understanding of the global coffee chain. Let’s go through it together.

The FOB prices Tim Wendelboe paid for coffee in 2013.

Tim Wendelboe is known for sharing lots of beautiful photos and interesting information from their work at origin, and they recently released a book on their work with Finca Tamana in Colombia.

Their 2012 transparency report said that it had been “a challenging year for a lot of our farmers, fighting abnormal rain patterns, leaf rust, thefts of coffee etc.,” but that they were they were implementing new processing techniques and some of their “long term projects with our farmers are finally giving results.” They hoped that these developments would make 2013 a better year for quality coffee.

The FOB prices Tim Wendelboe paid for coffee in 2012.

As you can see, in 2013 TW modestly increased the average price they paid for coffee, and also greatly increased the number of different lots of coffee they purchased. The price they paid Finca Tamana jumped from $3.76/lb to $4.50/lb, showing they potential payoff for focused work on improving quality. The transparency report also includes the graph below from the Finca Tamana book that breaks down where that money is actually going to.

tim wendelboe tamana breakdown

All of these prices are FOB or “Free On Board” prices–the most common way of expressing green coffee prices (the C market commodity price is FOB). This expression of green coffee prices does not include what the coffee buyers pay in shipping, transportation, storage or taxes. This can make it hard to do direct comparisons of production costs and markups, but it is a great start for understanding the complex dynamics of international coffee trade.

Interrogate the whole set of data yourself right here via the Tim Wendelboe 2013 transparency report.

The post Tim Wendelboe Releases 2013 Coffee Buying Transparency Report appeared first on Sprudge.com.

Source: sprudge

Our 3 London Coffee Festival Blends

By laurence

YCE - Menu Board

This weekend we will be previewing three fantastic blends at the London Coffee Festival. These coffee blends will be exclusively launched at the festival.

We will be travelling down to the Big Smoke with the Jorvik, The Ninth and Fawkes blends – a real slice of York in the hustle and bustle of London.

The Jorvik is a lightly roasted coffee blend. Fruity acidity dominates and we recommend as an Espresso, Americano or Flat White.

Medium roasted, The Ninth is ideal as an Espresso, Latte or Flat White. This coffee has a bright sweetness, dark chocolate richness and a tangerine/honey finish.

If you are looking for floral, berry fruitiness then look no further than the intense hit of the Fawkes blend. This might not be a favourite at Parliament but we think it makes a great Espresso or Americano!

Drop by this weekend, say hello and try our coffee!

Source: yorkcoffeeemporium.co.uk/blog

16 Reasons To Be Excited By Coffee Right Now

By Llewellyn Sinclair


In honor of Willamette Week’s “26 Reasons To Love Portland Right Now” we present our list of 16 great trends blowing up right now in the world of delicious coffee.

1. High quality coffee is coming to cities across America in a big way.

Throwdown at Coffee & Tea Collective in San Diego (Story: 5 Underrated Coffee Cities | Photo: Steve Cachero of FortyOneTwenty Inc.)

From Waco to Amarillo, Richmond, VA to Spokane, we’re seeing a generation of young, ambitious people moving in or moving back to smaller cities across America and opening seriously exciting coffee bars. And thanks to those small town rents, the build outs are simply stunning.

2. Darker roasts are okay again, and light roast is just fine too.

Roasters around the world are embracing a full spectrum of roasts, and the light roast craze has matured into something careful, intentional, and tasty. There’s such a thing as a well-sourced, nuanced dark roast just as much as there’s a fantastical and wild light roast – and everything between. While opinionated neck-beards will argue, we think a diverse range of delicious coffees is a magical thing.

3. In cafes, soy milk is out. Artisan and/or house-made nut-milk is totally in.

Freshly squeezed almond milk, supple and sweet hazelnut milk, and even kefir-infused cashew milks are showing up at some of the finest coffee bars.

4. Milkshakes are back in style.

Choco Champ milkshake at Intelligentsia Coffee Logan Square (Story: Chicago: Intelligentsia Logan Square's Beautiful Line In The SandChoco Champ milkshake at Intelligentsia Coffee Logan Square (Story: Chicago: Intelligentsia Logan Square’s Beautiful Line In The Sand)

Rejoice! Coffee bars like Intelligentsia Logan, Go Get Em Tiger, G&B Coffee, and many more are serving decadent, delicious coffee milkshakes with aplomb. Our own editor Zachary Carlsen has lectured on his love for frothy, creamy coffee shakes at Barista Nation events around the country. We can’t get enough. Don’t hate, celebrate.

5. Boutique brand ready-to-drink coffee is a market on the brink of exploding.

Two young men splash around in PT's cold brew (Story: Sprudge Style, Episode One: Cold Brew Buddies | Photos: Autumn Eaken)Two young men splash around in PT’s cold brew (Story: Sprudge Style, Episode One: Cold Brew Buddies | Photos: Autumn Eaken)

You’ll find Blue Bottle‘s New Orleans Iced Coffee next to Stumptown Coffee‘s cold brew stubby at national grocery stores like Whole Foods, along with a range of awesome, local RTD cartons and bottles of delightful coffees. More companies continue to partner with bottling companies and it’s a trend that’s really buzzing.

6. We’re riding the next wave of terroir and variety experimentation at origin.

A quality control miller grades samples of green coffee in Brazil.A quality control miller grades samples of green coffee in Brazil.

What does that even mean? It means let go of your preconceived notions of what coffees from specific regions taste like. Progressive producers are borrowing methods and exploring growing practices from other parts of the world. Those who succeed end up with award-winning and game-changing coffees.

7. Some of the strongest boutique coffee brands are expanding is big ways.

Stumptown Coffee in Los Angeles (Photo & Story: Amparo Rios)Stumptown Coffee in Los Angeles (Photo & Story: Amparo Rios)

Verve, Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle, La Colombe, Kaldi’s, and Counter Culture Coffee are all drafting expansion plans as we write this article, and in the next five years, expect to see even more growth for these well-regarded “big-but-still-small” coffee roasting companies with a commitment to cup quality.

8. Coffee with cream and sugar is cool again.

Who says coffee should only be enjoyed black? Go Get Em Tiger‘s new ‘coffee regular’ option got them written up by the LA Times. People love this stuff, and cafes across the world are re-embracing the practice.

10. The best coffee shops are serving the very best in ooey-gooey hash-tag deloshes pastries.

kouign-amannKouign Amann from Roman Candle in Portland, Oregon (Story: PDX: Duane Sorenson’s Roman Candle Baking Company Now Open)

Want to find the best pastries in town? Find the best cafes in town – the synergy between great coffee and delicious baked goods has never been stronger. Coffee bars are teaming up with award-winning artisans for exclusive collaborations. Some go even further, like San Francisco’s The Mill, who share space with an in-house baker while shops like NYC’s BoxKite has a resident pastry chef.

11. There are career paths for dedicated coffee professionals these days.

Austin Amento of Augie's Coffee speaks at Barista Nation, an international professional development event series (Story: Barista Nation LA Part 1: A Hot, Steamy Day In Anaheim) Austin Amento of Augie’s Coffee and others speak at Barista Nation, an international professional development event series (Story: Barista Nation LA Part 1: A Hot, Steamy Day In Anaheim)

Don’t believe us? Check this out.

12. Good food is finally coming to North American cafes.

Exquisite dinner service at BoxKite NYC (Story: First Look: Box Kite Coffee NYC)Exquisite dinner service at BoxKite NYC (Story: First Look: Box Kite Coffee NYC)

As much as we love the Morning Glory Bran Muffin, many cafes are exploring fine food alternatives. Some of our favorite cafes are experimenting with small plates, artisan baked goods, in-house chefs, curated cheese boards, table-service, and dynamic toast programs. Or you could head off to cities like Melbourne, Wellington, or London, where excellent food options are a mainstay at many of the best cafes.

13. Asia is in the middle of a coffee consumption renaissance.

Coffee Academics in HK. (Article: 5 Excellent Cafes In Hong Kong"Coffee Academics in HK. (Story: 5 Excellent Cafes In Hong Kong | Photo: Albert Au)

Japan has almost as long a history of coffee consumption as America, though the high-end of that market has really been heating up recently. Elsewhere, quality coffee is exploding in places like Hong Kong, while coffee in Korea is only becoming more incredibly fascinating. Starbucks is so excited for the potential in the Chinese market that they’ve even gone as far as buying coffee farms in the country to ensure adequate supply.

14. High-end coffee equipment has gotten positively drool-worthy.

Espresso Parts customized La Marzocco GS2 (Article: Espresso Eleganza: The Hottest Machines Of SCAA 2013) Photo: James HannaEspresso Parts customized La Marzocco GS2 (Story: Espresso Eleganza: The Hottest Machines Of SCAA 2013 | Photo: James Hanna)

The clean lines, the pressure, the heat, the passion. From Modbar to Alphadominche to Kees van der Westen, and everywhere in between, the hardware used to make coffee has become serious art in its own right.

15. Collaboration between coffee and other food and beverage industries is finally happening.


Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 8.44.40 AMThe coffee and alcohol sections of the bar at Dichotomy in Waco, TX. (Story: This New Coffee & Cocktail Bar In Texas Is Nothing Short Of Extraordinary | Photo Cara Michelle Smith)

More and more coffee shops are opening with serious drinks programs, from alcohol to juice to kombucha, and more and more collaboration is happening between professionals across these industries all the time. Chef Hugh Acheson actively seeks out quality coffee for his restaurants, coffee industry stalwart Chris Schooley is opening a barley maltery, the US Bartenders Guild just hosted a seminar on Irish Coffees at Four Barrel. Truly, the times they are a-changing.

16. Coffee has never been more delicious.

Espresso at Heart in Portland, Oregon.Espresso at Heart in Portland, Oregon.

The coffee you have access to at this very moment has never been grown, packed, shipped, stored, roasted, and packaged better. And with today’s cafe thought-leaders and a whole slew of eager young service bucks, it’s never been brewed better, either. But the best part? That coffee you’re drinking will only get more delicious from here on out.

The post 16 Reasons To Be Excited By Coffee Right Now appeared first on Sprudge.com.

Source: sprudge

By bwj


The University of California, Davis is considering the potential of a degree in coffee sometime in the near future. The university recently opened the UC Davis Coffee Center as part of their Food for Health Institute, whose stated goals are to “increase value at every step of the coffee pipeline, to ensure safety and quality of the global coffee trade, and educate the next generation of coffee scientists.”

The Coffee Center just wrapped up its first coffee research conference and they are currently looking for partners in the coffee industry to help expand the program and its research. NPR spoke with the director of the Food for Health Institute who made the case for why coffee is an obvious area of study:

There aren’t a lot of things that so many people consume several times a day, every day,” says J. Bruce German, who directs of the Foods for Health Institute at Davis. But given how much coffee people all over the world chug, there’s a surprising lack of academic research on the topic, German says.

There’s a lot we still don’t fully understand about coffee, German says. What’s the best way to treat the beans while they’re still green? What’s the most environmentally friendly way to roast them? And why are we so obsessed with how it smells?

And since the university is already well known for its winemaking and beer brewing programs, German says coffee seems like a natural next step. –NPR

As someone currently working on a Master’s Thesis about coffee, I can confirm how little academic research there is on the topic and I would greatly appreciate the knowledge a program like this could produce. If you’re considering an academic degree in the future and you’re enthralled by the idea of studying the chemistry of coffee, its impact on human health, or how to improve coffee at any point of the coffee chain, keep an eye on UC Davis.

Read the full story on NPR.

Source: DearCoffeeILoveYou

European Coffee Capitals Infographic


European Coffee Capitals infographic by HouseTrip

Source: enjoybettercoffee.wordpress.com

Brown Gold 100% Ethiopian Real Cups Review

By Jay Brewer

We continue our Brown Gold Real Cup review series today by checking out the 4th flavor in their line-up… Brown Gold 100% Ethiopian Real Cups.

Brewing these Real Cups resulted in rich earthy notes tinged with mild oily notes that revealed aromas of dark chocolate, smoke & some very faint hints of cinnamon & floral notes buried underneath. Billed as a dark roast, flavor yielded more robust notes that kicked off with some mild smoke up front followed by bursts of dark chocolate, molasses, bread notes in the background, some faint oily notes from the roasting process and a very mild (i.e. lightly sour) citrus flavor throughout. A very well-rounded performance so far which made for a pleasing experience.

Acidity was amazingly well balanced for a dark roast bold coffee as instead of an overpowering sour note, it was delicate & mild like in some lighter roasted coffees we’ve seen in the past. It created some of the citrusy sour notes in the flavors yet was pleasantly smooth & mild instead of strong & jarring.

Brown Gold Ethiopian Real Cups Brewing

Body was dark brown in color with strong shades of red when held in front of a light source. It reminded us of a fine red wine and since Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, you could almost consider this to be the coffee world’s version of a good Merlot. Mouth feel remained silky smooth thanks to the balanced acidity and did not seem the least bit watery. We were expecting a bit of an oily feel given that this is a dark roast, but were surprised to see only very mild signs of this. Finish was leaning towards the sweeter side with mostly dark chocolate notes throughout the aftertaste.

  • Aroma – 10 – Rich earthy notes up front tinged with mild oily notes that lead into aromas of dark chocolate, smoke along with some very faint hints of cinnamon & floral notes buried underneath.
  • Acidity – 10 – Amazingly well-balanced overall with mild & delicate sour notes instead of anything strong & overbearing. While not common, we’ve seen this in dark roasts before and we love it when that’s the case.
  • Body – 10 – Dark brown in color with some strong shades of red when held in front of a light source. Reminded us of a fine red wine and reinforced the idea of a similarly exceptional coffee being present in the mug.
  • Flavor – 10 – Robust notes all around with smoke & burst of dark chocolate up front followed by flavors of molasses, bread notes in the background, some faint oily notes from the dark roast and a very mild citrusy flavor throughout. Very please mix of flavors overall.
  • Mouth Feel – 10 – Silky smooth due to the balanced acidity, not watery at all and only a very mild oily feel in the end. A sweet finish topped things off with an aftertaste comprised mostly of dark chocolate.
  • Coffee Drinker – Suited best for dark roast fans that are looking for something more akin to a bold medium vs. a full-out intensity monster like a Starbucks K-Cup. The smooth & mild acidity should allow novice dark roast fans to break into the world of dark roast coffees and serves as an excellent introductory point for such individuals.

Overall Rating: 100 – Excellent!

Brown Gold Ethiopian Real Cups Cup

While this coffee is nowhere near as intense as an average Starbucks K-Cup, we find it fits the perfect balance between that end of the spectrum and a strong bold medium roast. We’ve admitted in the past that we prefer dark roast coffees, so it should come as no surprise that we thoroughly enjoyed this offering from Brown Gold’s line-up. We could easily see ourselves taking this anytime of the day from mid-morning to late afternoon and wouldn’t mind adding this flavor to our stash of weekly coffees and would not mind serving it to any guests that drop by either.

As we noted in the 100% Peruvian review, there are good ways of implementing acidity (wherein it helps the flavors, helps mouth feel, etc.) and then there are bad ways (wherein it’s so strong you lose most flavors, makes mouth feel watery, etc.). While the Peruvian failed at this task, the Ethiopian excels at it and goes to show how much more pleasing a well-balanced coffee can be. While it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, we’ve noticed an upturn in manufacturers who are taking the time to produce some truly exceptional & outstanding Ethiopian coffees as of late and we’re glad the birthplace of coffee is finally getting the recognition it deserves. This one’s definitely worth a try, to say the least.

Brown Gold 100% Ethiopian Real Cups work in all Keurig K-Cup Brewers and are available in Canada at ECSCoffee.com. These Real Cups are also available at Amazon.com in the USA. Please also note that Real Cups will NOT work with Keurig Vue brewers.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to thank ECS Coffee for supplying us with samples of these Real Cups for the purpose of this review.

Source: feeds.singleservecoffee.com/SingleServeCoffee

By Zachary Carlsen


On the sixth floor of an apartment complex in Beijing there is a replica Central Perk, the cafe hangout space from the television series Friends, a popular sitcom that ran from 1994 to 2004 on NBC. It’s so successful the proprietor has opened a second location in Shanghai. Its owner, an avid Friends fan, even kind of looks like Gunther, Central Perk’s manager on the show.

Owner Du Xin (left) and Gunther (right). (npr.com)

In the series, Central Perk served as the meeting space for the six leads. In earlier seasons, Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) worked there while roommate Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) played occasional acoustic guitar sets. In a slice of New York realism, struggling actor Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) even pulled a few shifts in season six.


The replica cafe only serves food that’s been mentioned in the series itself, which is pretty incredible. NPR has more:

For instance, the menu informs anyone ordering cheesecake that it was — in season 7, episode 11 — the subject of Rachel’s exclamation to Chandler (played by Matthew Perry): “You stole this cheesecake. That is wrong!”

The cafe airs re-runs of the series, which according to NPR’s All Things Considered, serve as a language-learning tool:

Reruns of the show serve as a language-learning tool for Chinese university students. The show is particularly popular for its use of colloquial language and as an introduction to American culture. It’s also popular because of the laid-back, friendship-filled lifestyle it portrays, far from the stressful, competitive world that Chinese young people inhabit.“That’s why we like Friends,” says Du. “We’re looking for this kind of life.”

On travel website TripAdvisor, the cafe has a solid four star rating. Reviewer CanadianHockey91 found the cafe hard to find, but declared it to be “small but nice and the food is decent. It is VERY hard to find so if you are looking for it be careful. Google maps has it in the wrong location. Once you get to Chawai SOHO go to the 6th floor A-building and wander.”

Another reviewer, TravelinMan7777, wasn’t impressed with the cafe’s food or drinks. “So I went and average is what I got. The atmosphere was good..people inside were very into themselves. The waitresses need to learn about customer service and to smile. The owner needs to not hit on the waitresses and hit on the women in the restaurant.

It seems fair to estimate that the quality of the products at the Central Perk on the sitcom Friends was average, so one might argue that the proprietor is simply being consistent with his commitment to authenticity. And Gunther totally hit on Rachel like all the time.


Central Perk, located at 616, Bldg A, Chaowai SOHO | CBD, Chaoyang Distrtict, Beijing, China.

The post The Central Perk Cafe From “Friends” Is Real (In China) appeared first on Sprudge.com.

Source: sprudge

By Llewellyn Sinclair


Welcome to our Day Three recap coverage from the 2014 Big Western Regional Barista Competition. This event happened over the weekend of February 21st-23rd, and was a preliminary regional competition to determine entrants for the 2014 United States Barista Championship in Seattle.

Our coverage is made possible by direct support from Wilbur Curtis and Portola Coffee Lab. The entirety of our 2014 competition coverage–regionals, nationals, and the 2014 World Barista Championship in Rimini, Italy–is anchored by the direct support of Nuova Simonelli, whose Aurelia T3 serves as the official espresso machine of the USBC and WBC.

It is our pleasure and privilege to serve as Official Media Partners throughout the 2014 United States Barista Championship season, in association with the Specialty Coffee Association of America. This is a responsibility we take quite seriously, which is why we’ve committed to attending and exhaustively covering each day of each regional and national event in the United States Barista Championship cycle.

All of this coverage is culled from the @SprudgeLive Twitter feed, the worldwide leader in live competition coverage.

Day Three – Sunday, February 23, 2014 – 8 Competitors


40. Casey Soloria, Intelligentsia Coffee, Pasadena @Intelligentsia @csoloria

Mr. Soloria competes with 2 distinct coffees – both from Latin America, both roasted by @intelligentsia. He’s kind of channeling Rufio up here on stage or something – hairstyle, bangarang attitude, fearless…what’s not to like?

Latin American coffees as a gateway drug to exploring the wider flavors perspectives in specialty coffee? “Maybe they can be a kind of stepping stone”, Mr. Soloria asks the crowd. ”We can really benefit from using Southern Hemisphere coffees to get people into our industry.”


Wondering how @intelligentsia produces excellent competitors? Rigorous & fiercely competitive in-house qualifiers. All strictly “no media” affairs. We’ve asked politely to be allowed to poke our heads in…no dice. It’s a longstanding Intelligentsia tradition going back to the middle of last decade.

Mr. Soloria’s two coffees hail from Rwanda & Bolivia – here’s the Rwanda Zirikana, and the second is the Bolivia Anjilanaka. He looks at the Bolivian coffee as a gateway with round, sweet flavors, and the Rwanda as something more challenging, and fascinating. Together the end result has both comfort and hook.

Casey Soloria calls time at 15:07.


41. Ethan Poole, Portland Roasting Co., Portland @pdxroast @2Poole4School

“Judges, Hi! Thanks for skipping church and coming here.” – Ethan Poole.

This is a personality-packed performance, from the opening quote up above carrying through to Mr. Poole’s continuous demeanor and pacing with the judges. Non-homogenized milk in his cappuccinos, whose notes are “creaminess, with a little bit of nougat mixed in.”

We’re big @pdxroast fans at Sprudge. Fine Portland Roasting Coffees are served throughout PDX, where our editorial staff is based. One excellent place @pdxroast is served is at @BurgervilleUSA – a PNW fresh & local chain of burger joints. Highly delicious.

Mr. Poole competes with a coffee from Las Lajas, Costa Rica. Pineapple juice, coconut cream, and honey in hia sig drink – “a play on the pina colada…this should taste like a cultural appropriation of Polynesia in a glass.”

After thanking the judges for their time, here’s closing quote for Ethan Poole’s routine: “What’s the difference between beer nuts & deer nuts? Beer nuts are $1.25; deer nuts are under a buck.”


42. Christine Johnson, Handsome Coffee Roasters, Los Angeles @HandsomeRoaster @compactchris

Ms. Johnson starts the judges off with a taste of cola nut – “a difficult ingredient, familiar.” She is competing with @handsomeroaster‘s Colombia San Sebastian – take some home.


In what I believe to be a competition first, @compactchris has featured Riff Raff in her #bigwestern set. Very good plus. Oh, and great capp notes: ”brown sugar, vanilla, and soft cinnamon” – like a verbal hug of comforting cappuccino language choices.

Christine Johnson calls time at 15:03.


43. Brady MacDonald, Olympia Coffee Roasting Co., Olympia @OlympiaCoffee @braideee

Mr. MacDonald, on his stage setting: “Each of these items are from my very own dining room table.” He competes with @olympiacoffee‘s Kenya Gatomboya, from the Nyeri district, which is comprised of the coffee variety SL-28, and is a Direct Trade coffee for @olympiacoffee. Learn more here.

Espresso notes from @braideee: “sugary dates” in the first sip, “exotic acidity…tamarind, ruby red grapefruit” on the second sip.

Now appearing on stage courtesy of f@braideee, inarguably the greatest pop song in human history: “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” by Talking Heads.

Whipped yogurt, coconut sugar, @olympiacoffee Kenya Gatomboya for @braideee‘s sig drink – “a yogurt parfait.” Mr. MacDonald calls time at 15:40.


44. Sheli Maciel, Allegro Coffee Co., Oakland @AllegroCoffee

Ms. Maciel uses an Ethiopian coffee from the Guji Zone, sourced via Trabocca’s Operation Cherry Red. Ms. Maciel’s company, @allegrocoffee, have been in specialty coffee for 35yrs, but what they did at @WholeFoods Brooklyn is cutting edge.

Pomegranate sweetness and a cocoa finish on Ms. Maciel’s #BigWestern capps.

Ms. Maciel’s sig-drink: Basil & Lemon whipping cream injected into her espresso shot. Calls time at a comfy 13:39


45. Charles Babinski, G & B, Los Angeles @GandBcoffee @charlesbabinski

“I’m going to do something I would never do in a coffee shop – tell you everything I know about this coffee.” That’s how Charles Babinski starts this year’s routine.

All of @charlesbabinski‘s “jasmine, plum, cacao” espressos have been ground ahead of time. “It’s definitely more consistent.”

Mr. Babinski competes with two distinct coffees from Cauca, Colombia – both washed, but different varieties. Not really going deep on roaster details, although we’ll learn later that his coffees are from 49th Parallel and Onyx Coffee Lab, respectively. ”One floral, complex – the other mild, with a deep sweetness.”


Mr. Babinski’s espressos served in Ben Medansky ceramic cups. We’re fans. Learn more: http://benmedansky.com

This is what you’d call an “involved” espresso service. Mr. Babinski first offers his espressos visually, then “takes a bit off the top” and transfers vessels before allowing the judges to evaluate his espressos for taste.

Sig drink: grapefruit rind simple syrup, apricot kernel milk, cacao nib syrup. He blends them together on stage! The whurr and roar of a blender, once a competition mainstay, sings sweetly again in the hands of @charlesbabinski. Competition veterans watching live alongside us in the crowd are guesstimating to me that that it’s been YEARS since a high-level competitor blended on stage.

Charles Babinski calls time at 14:42. Blender aside, this was a minimalist performance from @charlesbabinski – no roaster info, no coffee varieties mentioned by name.

“I’m a barista. I work in a shop pretty much every day of the week. And I take pride in that.” – Charles Babinski, with likely the quote of the weekend.


46. Nick Purvis, The French Press, Santa Barbara @leFRENCHPRESS @nikpurvis

Mr. Purvia competes with a Cafe Imports selected coffee from producer Javier Ordonez in Huila, Colombia. Mr. Purvis’ Colombian is part of @cafeimports‘ “Million Pesos” 90 point program – learn more.

Castle is the new roasting arm of @lefrenchpress in Santa Barbara – we’ve featured them recently on Sprudge, so check that out here.

Mr. Purvis was a 2013 USBC finalist, along with Charles Babinski, Sam Lewontin, Pete Licata, Trevor Corlett, and Charlie Habegger.

Sig drink: fermented grapefruit bitters, tangerine panella simple syrup, japanese cocktail pitcher – espresso, rocks, stirred, creating a drink that’s ”coffee-forward, complex, and refreshing,” served in in tasteful miniature coupe glasses.

Nik Purvis calls time at 14:34


47. Jillian Woods, Farley’s Coffee SF, San Francisco @farleyscoffee

Nicaraguan and Kenyan coffees in Jillian Woods’ competition espressos. with a big shout out to @delapazcoffee for their training and support for this #bigwestern routine.

“This machine does wonders for this blend. This machine is really killer, actually.” – Jillian Woods, on the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia T3 espresso machine. 20g shots for cappuccinos – “a shorter, more dense shot to accent the milk.”

This was a fun, humble, #real routine from Jillian Woods – but unfortunately we’ve past the 16 mark for this routine here at #bigwestern, which means Woods has disqualified.


48. Row Aczon, Honolulu Coffee, Honolulu @honolulucoffee

There were a total of two competitors this weekend who made the trip from Hawaii – proud to report that both competed in Hawaiian floral print shirts.

Mr. Aczon is the Director of Coffee Quality at @honolulucoffee – he’s competing here at #bigwestern and representing his coffee “ohana”, his family, which to him includes the producer and his team at Honolulu Coffee.

“In 2012, Honolulu Coffee purchased our very own coffee farm – in the Captain Cook district of Kona.” Owning their own farm has allowed Honolulu Coffee to enact processing experiments, including some African-style drying beds for a natural processing, still very rare on Hawaii.


Listening to Mr. Aczon talk about Hawaii is transportive, as in it makes us really want to visit, for the coffee and the food and the weather and the vibe, man. Hawaii is such a wonderful place. Learn more about @honolulucoffee‘s farm in Kona, and take some of this fine coffee home.

Mr. Aczon’s sig drink: chilled espresso, filtered water, grapefruit simple syrup (taken from grapefruits grown on Honolulu Coffee’s own farm). Very simple and clean. He instructs the judges to sip it first, then slurp the sig drink “like a cupping.”

“From me and my Ohana, my Ohana and I, we’d like to say mahalo and aloha” – Row Aczon calls time at 15:09 after a charming and highly professional performance.


Relive the complete 2014 Big Western weekend here on Sprudge.

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8 Signs You Are A French Press

By Zachary Carlsen


Here are eight sure signs that you are, in fact, a french press.

8. You were once king of your domain, and then were largely dismissed, but are quietly making a huge comeback in a big way.

7. You were the 1994 “Gift To Get” for anyone on your holiday list.

6. When people describe you, “Muddy” is the first adjective that comes to mind.

5. You’re usually extremely reliable – but sometimes under the right amount of pressure you can explode.

This broken French Press was repurposed as a terrarium. (pinterest.comThis broken French Press was repurposed as a terrarium. (pinterest.com

4. For a time you were seen in cafes across the world but have since taken a back seat.

3. You’re very girthy. Even at your smallest, you are at least four inches around.

2. You come in many skins – you’re decked out in fearsome stainless steel, other times you’re ensconced in butch leather, and sometimes soothing sheaths of wood.


1. While some have tried to change your personality by changing the way those approach you, you’re still you and you ain’t never going to change.

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