From Left: Steve Cuevas of Black Oak Coffee Roasters, Fresh Cup Publisher Jan Weigel, Golden Bean’s Head Bean Sean Edwards, and Keith Feigin of Black Oak Coffee Roasters.If you’re unfamiliar with the event, roasters from across the US and Canada submit their coffees to compete in different categories including filtered, espresso, or milk-based. This year’s event had more than 850 submissions. During the three-day judging round, samples of the coffee are prepared and served to attendees of the conference, then scored based on sweetness, acidity, body, and overall balance. Head judges then come around to ensure fair scoring and provide their own assessment. The conference provides a great opportunity to fine-tune your palette and taste some of the best coffees available in North America while meeting dedicated professionals in a variety of positions throughout the coffee industry, including roasters, baristas, importers, product suppliers, and more.
In between tastings, industry experts provided educational seminars on hot-topic issues for coffee professionals. Seminars from this year included marketing your business, by Phillip Di Bella of Di Bella Group; coffee without limits, by Daniel Robles of Descamex; emerging origins, by Susan Heller Evenson of Atlas Coffee Importers; an alternative beverage trends panel with Michael Bishop of Alchemy Cordial Company, Manish Shah of Maya Tea, and Mindy Ritter of JoeFroyo; and how to maintain your importer relationships with Brian Nicholas of Organic Products Trading Company.
Evening events included a cocktail and karaoke party at Portland Roasting Coffee, and a latte art throwdown at Black Rabbit Service Co. Competition festivities culminated in a themed awards party that included dancing, drinking, and celebration. This year, a medieval feast was held in the DoubleTree ballroom. Guests came dressed as knights, princesses, monks, and even a giant red dragon, as awards were handed out.
Here are the gold medalists and overall winners from this year’s competition:
- Espresso (short/black) Theory Collaborative LLC Ethiopia Keramo – CA
- Milk Based Bonlife Coffee Roasters Top Shelf Espresso – TN
- Pour Over Filter Folklore Coffee Kenya Ruthagati – MT
- Organic Espresso Roast House Coffee Ethiopia Homacho Waeno – WA and Relevant Coffee – Guatemala San Pedro Necta Organic – WA
- Single Origin Bonlife Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Gedeb Natural – TN
- Decaffeinated K&F Coffee Roasters Liana WP Decaf – OR
- North American Grown Milk Based Kona Coffee Purveyors Mauna Loa – HI
- Franchise /Chain Espresso Bird Rock Coffee Roasters XO Geisha – CA
- Franchise /Chain Milk Based The Roasterie Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Natural – MO
- Franchise/Chain Filter Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters Panama Hartmann Natural Geisha – Lot 1 AB and Klatch Coffee – Golden Bean Panama Drip – CA
Overall Small Franchise/Chain Champion: Klatch Coffee
Overall Large Franchise/Chain Champion: Canterbury Coffee
Overall Golden Bean Champions: Black Oak Coffee and BonLife Coffee
Visit the Golden Bean Facebook page for a complete list of all the winners.