Just about a year after we started working on a new brand and a new website, the finished product has arrived. Well, almost. On November 1, 2009 we launched the brand Artazza and the website www.artazza.com. Version 1.0, that is.
This is the 2nd annual Mountain Regional Barista Championship, and the 2nd year that the amazing Mike Strumpf of Allegro Coffee Company (the event host) has organized another great opportunity for baristi from the Rocky Mountain region to get together and demonstrate their passion for coffee and raise the level of awareness and quality of what’s in the cup. Mike organized fantastic PR coverage of the event, including several articles in the local news media and a segment on the NBC Channel 9 local 5 pm news. Check it out on Mike’s blog.
The Open Round was held on Saturday and the following 6 baristi qualified for Sunday’s Finals:
Jesse Bladyka of Coal Creek Coffee, Laramie, WY
Greg Lefcourt of Ozo Coffee Co, Boulder, CO
Robin Crosby of Coal Creek Coffee, Laramie, WY
Philip Search of Sole Coffee Roasters, Boulder, CO
Emily Kryska of Caffee Sole, Boulder, CO
Thai Patton of The Cup, Boulder, CO
Results of Sunday’s Final Round:
Above results via Mike Strumpf’s blog and his post on coffeed.com. Congratulations to Greg Lefcourt and all the participants!!! By winning this regional championship, Greg automatically qualified for the semi-finals of the 2009 United States Barista Championship to be held in Portland on March 5-8.
Next weekend, Allegro Coffee Company (wholly-owned subsidiary of Whole Foods Market) will host the 2nd annual 2009 Mountain Regional Barista Competition in Denver (Thornton), Colorado. Professional baristi from Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho will be competing from January 16-18, 2009 for the right to participate in the United States Barista Championship in March 2009. Last year’s winner, Jon Lewis, has assumed a key role with the Cup of Excellence program and will not be participating, which should open up the field.
Mike Strumpf of Allegro Coffee Company (which is again acting as host) commissioned us to create sets of custom cobalt blue cappuccino cups for the top three finishers (hand inscribed by the artisan with the event and place of finish) and custom black cappuccino cups for each competitor. Last year, Allegro awarded red espresso cups to the top 3 finishers and black espresso cups to all participants, so baristi who competed last year and are coming back this year will be able to collect both espresso and cappuccino cups.
The winner will receive 6 Terra Keramik cobalt blue cappuccino cups plus a TORR espresso tamper handcrafted by Cafe Kultur in Germany from FSC-certified Palisander wood with a stainless steel base.
Good luck to all the participants! We will post the final results after the competition.
Thank you Mike and Allegro Coffee for selecting Terra Keramik to create these prizes for your regional barista championship.
We stocked up on several excellent coffees from Counter Culture Coffee for the holidays. Counter Culture is considered one of the best US artisan roasters, and its co-owner and coffee buyer, Peter Guliano, is well regarded within the coffee industry. Read this article in the New York Times to learn more about Counter Culture and several other US artisan roasters.
Our selection of coffees includes a couple of African coffees from Kenya (from the Kangocho farmers in Nyeri, Kenya) and Rwanda (Bourbon coffee varietal, from the tiny agrarian community Humure in the province of Byumba, northern Rwanda). We also purchased a Central American coffee, the Finca El Puente (the “Purple Princess”) from Marcala, Honduras (Catuai coffee varietal) and a coffee from Asia-Pacific, Kuta from the Waghi Valley, Papua New Guinea.
We completed our Holiday coffees with Counter Culture’s Northern Italian espresso blend, Aficionado, wonderful either pulled as straight shots or as a base for cappuccino or latte.
Building Vertical Communities
Single Artisan, Product Focused Website
In November 2006, we launched the terrakeramik.com online marketplace to introduce a single artisan, Terra Keramik of Switzerland, to the North American marketplace. Because we represented exclusively Terra Keramik, we created the initial website under the Terra Keramik brand with a focus on its 12 tableware products. The initial online marketplace was organized around beverageware, dinnerware, and a section called studio.
We faced several business challenges with that product centric approach. For example, to launch the Terra Keramik coffee beverageware in North America, we had to build a premium brand from ground zero that appealed to the professional and home barista markets. We wanted to differentiate ourselves from the numerous online stores that sell $5 white and brown, machine-made, porcelain coffee cups displayed on “catalog pages” with little information about the product and no other subject relevant content or advice.
Rich, Relevant and Interactive Content
We wanted to provide useful information about the product, show how the products are used by professionals and home consumers, and provide a rich, interactive browsing and buying experience with relevant information about the entire coffee trade (growers, roasters, baristi, cafes, consumers). In effect, we wanted to build vertical online communities without duplicating the content and features already offered by successful online coffee communities such as coffeegeek, home-barista, coffesnobs, baristaexchange, and coffeed. We wanted to provide some of the basic and necessary information and tools that these much larger communities may lack, may be hard to find, or present them in a more user-friendly format.
Multiple Artisans, Vertical Communities
In late 2007, about a year after launching the Terra Keramik tableware, we introduced a second Swiss artisan, Glasi Hergiswil and its lead-free, mouthblown crystal glass products, to the North American market. This was followed by the launch of Café Kultur of Germany and its handcrafted espresso accessories. We now faced a third business challenge, how to convert from our online marketplace representing a single artisan with few products, to multiple artisans with potentially hundreds of products, each with its own distinctive brand and product lines. It reinforced our desire to build vertical communities and also compelled us to start thinking about creating an independent brand that would represent and support multiple artisans.
Rebranding – Part 1
In the summer of 2008 we began to organize our online marketplace around four vertical communities:
The following screen shots show the terrakeramik.com online marketplace as of December 2008, organized around the above vertical communities.
Stay tuned for details on building out the vertical communities
Here are the final results (courtesy of John Manzo) of the Canadian Barista Championship held in Montreal on October 21-22 in conjunction with the Canada Coffee & Tea Show. Six of the 14 first round competitors qualified for the final:
|1.||Sammy Piccolo||Caffè Artigiano||Vancouver, BC||569.5 pts|
|2.||Spencer Vieghweger||JJ Bean Coffee||Vancouver, BC||562.0 pts|
|3.||Joel May||Fratello Coffee Company||Calgary, AB||555.5 pts|
|4.||Chad Moss||Transcend Coffee||Edmonton, AB||551.5 pts|
|5.||Phil Robertson||Phil & Sebastian Coffee||Calgary, AB||527.5 pts|
|6.||Anthony Benda||Café Myriade||Montreal, QC||517.5 pts|
The winner for the fourth time is Sammy Piccolo, who is both the Manager of Caffè Artigiano’s Burnaby (Vancouver) location and an owner (together with his brothers Michael and Vince) of 49th Parallel Roasters, also located in Vancouver. Sammy will represent Canada at the next World Barista Championship planned for April 16-19, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. He placed an unprecedented 2nd, 3rd and 2nd at the 2004, 2005 and 2006 World Barista Championships (three consecutive top 3 finishes). He did not compete after the 2006 WBC, and the following two years, Colter Jones and Mike Yung represented Canada at the WBC, with Colter placing a strong 7th in 2007 and Mike finishing an excellent 5th at the WBC earlier this year. Both Colter and Mike represented Caffè Artigiano (Mike is still there and Colter moved on to 49th Parallel Roasters). In summary, the Caffè Artigiano “barista gang” will have represented Canada for 6 consecutive years at the World Barista Championships! Wow!
Congratulations to all of the competitors for elevating the quality of specialty coffee and exhibiting a true passion for your craft. Chad Moss and Anthony Benda may be a little disappointed with their placings (Chad won the 2004 South Australia regional barista competition; Anthony placed a fantastic 3rd at the Canadian Barista Championship in 2007 as a first-time competitor), but we congratulate both on their achievement to train for months and represent their artisan craft so well. Both Chad and Anthony competed with Terra Keramik espresso cups and cappuccino cups, as did Laura Perry (who unfortunately missed the finals) of Bridgehead Coffeehouses in Toronto. We thank you for placing your trust in our handcrafted, eco-friendly “competition grade” products. We also have a special partnership with Anthony (full disclosure!), who provides content for our online marketplace, including videos, recipes and tips around everything that is coffee and espresso.
Just a quick interim post with the first round results of the Canadian Barista Championship being held in Montreal on October 21-22 in conjunction with the Canada Coffee & Tea Show. Sixteen baristi competed (4 baristi from each of 4 regional competitions), and this is the first year that all baristi qualified for the national competition via regional competitions (no open entries like in the past).
The top six baristi from the first round who qualified for the finals (starting at 12 noon Eastern Time on Tuesday, October 22) are as follows (in no particular order):
|Joel May||Fratello Coffee Company||Calgary, AB|
|Spencer Vieghweger||JJ Bean Coffee||Vancouver, BC|
|Anthony Benda||Café Myriade||Montreal, Quebec|
|Chad Moss||Transcend Coffee||Edmonton, AB|
|Phil Robertson||Phil & Sebastian Coffee||Calgary, AB|
|Sammy Piccolo||Caffè Artigiano||Vancouver, BC|
Notable is that that 5 out of the 6 finalists hail from Western Canada, with Anthony Benda the only representative from the Eastern part of the country. Many will point out that this wouldn’t necessarily reflect the quickly changing Eastern and Central landscape for specialty coffee in Canada, which has many excellent roasters, cafes and baristi (Montreal alone has several top cafes, including Cafe Sante Veritas, Anthony’s former employer, and his soon to open Cafe Myriade).
Video coverage (live streaming and archived videos) is available at ustream.tv.
We’ve been busy the past 6 months growing and expanding our online marketplace at terrakeramik.com and although we continue to be busy (especially with the holiday season only a few weeks away), we are excited to share with you some of the things we’re doing on this blog. We’ll be posting in the next few days, so check back! Thanks.
28 baristi participated in the first-ever Mountain Regional Barista Championship. The Open Round was held on Saturday and the following 6 baristi qualified for Sunday’s Finals:
Anita Fried – Logans Espresso
Nolan Dutton – Conscious Coffees
Vajra Rich – Sole Coffee Roasters
Susan Price – The Black Cup
Jon Lewis – Long Story Short Coffee
Heidi Bickelhaudt – Trident Cafe
Results of Sunday’s Final Round:
Congratulations to Jon Lewis and all the participants!!! By winning this regional championship, Jon automatically qualified for the semi-finals of the 2008 United States Barista Championship to be held in Minneapolis on May 2-5. Please read Jon’s blog to learn more about the event and the participants. Also check out Mike Strumpf’s blog (Allegro Coffee was the host).
Baristas Abuzz With Caffeinated Competition is a great article about the Region’s coffee scene with short biographies of 4 competitors.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America presents the 2008 Mountain Regional Barista Competition, hosted by Allegro Coffee Company (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Whole Foods Market), in Denver, Colorado on February 29 to March 2, 2008.
Professional baristi from Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho will be each preparing and serving 4 espresso, 4 cappuccino and 4 signature drinks in a 15-minute competition. The winner of the 2008 Mountain Regional Barista Competition qualifies for the 2008 United States Barista Championship.
Mike Strumpf of Allegro Coffee Company commissioned Terra Keramik to handcraft sets of custom red espresso cups as prizes for the top three finishers (hand inscribed by the artisan with the event and place of finish) and custom black espresso cups for each competitor. As host of the 2008 MRBC, Allegro was interested in prizes that both commemorate the special event and also represent functional gear that the professional baristi could use in their cafés.