Archive for the ‘coffee roasters’ Category

Finals Results – MRBC 2009

January 23, 2009

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:

3rd place- Philip Search
2nd place- Jesse Bladyka
1st place- Greg Lefcourt!

Above results via Mike Strumpf’s blog and his post on 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.


2009 Mountain Regional Barista Championship

January 12, 2009

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.





Coffees we enjoy

December 31, 2008

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.

Counter Culture Coffees

Canadian Barista Championship, Montreal, Oct 21-22, 2008

October 22, 2008

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.

And of course John Manzo would like me to mention that Western Canada continues to rule (see his blog) the Canadian coffee scene barista competitions (sorry Anthony!). 🙂

We also encourage you to check out the archived video coverage available at, as well as Liz Clayton’s coverage of the competition and Anthony Benda’s wrapup.

We’re BAAACK!!!

October 21, 2008

We’ve been busy the past 6 months growing and expanding our online marketplace at 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.

Finals Results – MRBC

March 2, 2008

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:

3rd place- Heidi Bickelhaudt
2nd place- Nolan Dutton
1st place- Jon Lewis!

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.

2008 Mountain Regional Barista Competition

February 8, 2008
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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.

Buon Amici’s Coffee Special Promotion

January 29, 2008

Buon Amici’s Coffee of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada is offering an exciting limited time promotion:


Derek Lucas, co-owner of Buon Amici’s Coffee, is one of Canada’s leading baristi. He won the 2007 Canadian Western Regional Barista Championship and placed 6th at the 2007 Canadian National Barista Championship. Derek purchased a small lot of the Esmeralda Special Geisha coffee, which was auctioned by La Hacienda Esmeralda of Panama on May 29, 2007 at a record $130 per pound of green (unroasted) coffee beans. Derek had used our Terra Keramik espresso and cappuccino cups during the 2007 Canadian Barista Championship, and we are thrilled that he chose to serve the Esmeralda Special Geisha coffee to his customers in Terra Keramik cups.

Buon Amici’s Coffee
Unit 110-645 Tyee Road
Victoria, BC V9A 6X5

You better hurry, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to enjoy this amazing coffee served in Terra Keramik cups!!!

New York Times “To Burundi and Beyond for Coffee’s Holy Grail”

September 13, 2007

Photo Copyright by The New York Times, Janet Jarman for The New York Times.

The New York Times features an awesome article “To Burundi and Beyond for Coffee’s Holy Grail” about the search for coffee perfection in far flung places of the world. We mean awesome because the 2nd largest national daily newspaper (after the Wall Street Journal), a barometer for mainstream media, is recognizing the efforts and progress from bean to cup in the specialty coffee segment. And we mean awesome because it describes how some of our favorite specialty roasters (Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Counter Culture, Terroir) discover the next great coffees and work with local farmers to improve the quality. All four roasters sell both single origin coffees as well as blends, including many that are certified organic, fair trade, and shade-grown coffees. The New York Times article includes a beautiful slide show of farms in Nicaragua’s coffee growing region and a video on coffee cupping (analogous to wine tasting) featuring a barista from 9th Street Espresso, one of New York City’s best cafes. To view the article, you may need to sign up for a FREE New York Times online account (you don’t need to be a subscriber).