US Coffee Championships 2014

We really enjoyed watching the USCC last weekend. There were lots of great competitors. The overwhelming feeling that I got from watching the USCC is that just like coffee plants need strong roots to flourish, competitors need a strong foundation in order to compete. That foundation can not be done by oneself. That foundation is a strong network, a whole complex web of interactions and relationships that is ultimately represented by an individual competitor’s 15 minute performance. Congrats to Laila Ghambari for winning the USBC. She totally deserved it. Her performance really reflected her deep passion for coffee and represented the level of teamwork and camaraderie that is needed to make amazing coffee. Watch her performance:

Laila: We desire to serve extraordinary coffee; however, individually we were limited by each other’s roles. See, as a barista, the quality of coffee that I can serve to you is going to be dependent on the quality of the green coffee and the quality of the roasted coffee. So, we knew that in order to achieve our goal, the three of us (barista, roaster and coffee producer) would have to work together. So, we did.

Laila flew to Santa Ana, El Salvador to walk the farm of Emilio Lopez-Diaz. They picked the best coffee, brought it home and her roaster perfected the roast. She also found the perfect milk from Little Cow Girl in NJ to compliment her cap, which was a grass-fed non-homogenized milk that had 3.25% milk fat. She finished with her specialty drink which contained 3 main elements, each representing the people who came together to create it: Emilio, the farmer: The Coffee beans and Coffee cherry syrup with coffee-pollinated honey from the farm Phil, the roaster: Smoke from the the wood of the coffee trees that grew the coffee Laila, herself: Espresso, which pulls everything together. Her job is to finish the story.

So ultimately this is a story about collaboration. Collaboration thats “I” and turns it into “we.” “We” is stronger. Many minds and many talents working together towards one common goal. I wanted to serve you a drink that expresses the essence of this collaboration.

Magnificent performance by Laila Ghambari. We wish her all the best for the upcoming World Barista Championships!

Shout out to Jonathan Bonchak for placing 5th in the Brewer’s Cup. Proud to have him representing NC!


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