Putting Another NERBC to Bed!

NERBC 2013 finalists

NERBC Finalists (and Wesley). Photo courtesy Sprudge.com

It took months in the making, months in the rescheduling, and—somehow it was still all over so very fast. In our three years hosting the Northeast Regional Barista Competition here in New York City, this year’s was easily the most complex and emotional: the original event, scheduled to take place in Atlantic City, NJ the first week of November, was literally washed out due to Hurricane Sandy.

For months we worked with the SCAA and others to reschedule this important regional—the Northeast now comprises thirteen states of coffee talent!—and ran into waterlogged difficulty after difficulty, trying to find a place to host this important event that wasn’t literally, or figuratively, waterlogged by the storm’s effects.

We can’t say enough about how moving it was to finally bring the event together in our own borough of Queens. Baristas from thirteen states, who had trained for the months leading up to the originally scheduled NERBC and Brewer’s Cup, put their trays back together, found new, in-season coffees, and re-rehearsed their routines, ultimately coming together for two tough contests in one tough region.

We’d like to thank all the volunteers and sponsors for their tireless commitment to getting this event off the ground, as well as our wonderful media sponsors Sprudge, whose up-to-the-minute digital coverage at @SprudgeLive filled in the gaps for anyone who couldn’t get to Long Island City or tune into the feed at the time. (Plus, those guys are hilarious.)

We’d also like to thank Respond & Rebuild, whose efforts in rehabilitating the affected areas after the storm hasve truly inspired us. We, along with Mable’s Smokehouse, donated a portion of our NERBC party tab to this kindhearted organization. We thank them for their hard work in these hard times.

Finally, we want to thank all who came out to support the coffee community, from competitors and coaches to fans and friends. We’d like to extend the deepest congratulations to our champions, Northeast Regional Barista Champion Sam Lewontin from the wonderful Everyman Espresso, and Northeast Regional Brewer’s Cup Champion (two-peating!) Jordan Barber from Intelligentsia Coffee—soon to join us with a cafe here in New York City. Barista competition finalists Brian Gelletly (Ultimo Coffee), Mike Morgenstern (Joe Coffee), Tamara Vigil (Irving Farm Coffee Roasters), Jordan Barber and our very own superhero roaster Anne Cooper also knocked our socks off. In the Brewer’s Cup, we were also super-proud of our Joe Drazenovic, along with Tamara Vigil, Erin McCarthy (Counter Culture Coffee), Amanda Whitt (Everyman Espresso) and Andrew Blumhagen (Sweetleaf).

In a city this resilient, in a region this strong…it’s cheesy to say it, but it’s true: each and every one of us at Dallis Bros. felt like winners last week. We can’t wait to see you all at the USBC!

Competitor Spotlight: Anne Cooper

Anne at Mountaintop Estate, Australia

On this third year of hosting the Northeast Regional Barista Competition right here in New York City, and our 100th year as one of that same city’s very own specialty coffee roasters, we couldn’t be more excited to have two of our talented team competing in the upcoming festivities.

Anne Cooper is our roaster here, an international veteran talent with an infectious enthusiasm and a heck of a commute to work.

What coffee are you using?
Australian Bin 478 from Mountain Top Estate

Why’d you select it?
Because its a Rule Breaker!
Not only is it dear to my heart (by being Australian) but because it’s a coffee/origin that not many have heard of or tasted before. And I really wanted to give the judges a unique coffee experience.

How many times have you competed before?
Approx. 7 times in the Australian Barista comps at Regionals & Nationals.

What’s been the hardest part of your training?
Not actually getting my coffee & being able to roast it & get to know it better until only 2 weeks ago, as I was waiting on fresh crop to arrive…

Anne competes next week at the 2013 NERBC and Brewer’s Cup, catch her at 2:25pm EST on the live stream on Wednesday, February 20th!

Competitor Spotlight! Joe Drazenovic

On this third year of hosting the Northeast Regional Barista Competition right here in New York City, and our 100th year as one of that same city’s very own specialty coffee roasters, we couldn’t be more excited to have two of our talented team competing in the upcoming festivities.

Josip Drazenovic works for us as an espresso and coffee consultant. If you’ve never met Joe at an event, on bar at a cafe that serves Dallis Bros., or on the throwdown circuit, you’re missing out — his talent is immediate and his enthusiasm is infections. Joe is competing in both the NERBC barista event as well as the Brewer’s Cup. We asked him a little bit about his routine.

What coffee are you using?
Dallis Bros. Lot #1 from La Esmeralda located in Huila, Colombia.

Why’d you select it?
The first time I cupped it, I realized it was a representation of why I decided to devote myself to the coffee industry. There haven’t been many coffees I’ve brewed and pulled that I’ve felt as connected to.

With La Esmeralda, I know what it likes and i know what it wants to taste like. From flavor, texture and aroma it’s exactly what I’d want my last cup of coffee to be.

I think any barista can relate to that and if they can’t right now, they will at some point in their career — whether its a blend or a single lot from a farm.

How many times have you competed before?
None!

What’s been the hardest part of your training?
Time management.

Josip competes next week at the 2013 NERBC and Brewer’s Cup, catch him at 12:12pm on the live stream on Thursday, February 21st!

Official NERBC after-party, Thursday February 21!

Please come and join us for the official NERBC Party, to take place at Mable’s Smokehouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a short distance from the competition in Long Island City!

We’ll be gathering from 7-11, and the first 200 attendees will receive two drink tickets each for beer or wine. After that, we’re donating 20% of the bar proceeds to Respond and Rebuild‘s Sandy relief efforts.

We hope you’ll come out and celebrate our craft and our community before the last day of competition finals!

NERBC 2013 Rescheduled! Feb 20-22

Specialty Coffee Association of America Announces Rescheduled NERBC Event Dates

LONG BEACH, Calif. U.S.A. (January 11, 2013) — The Specialty Coffee Association has announced the rescheduled dates and venue for the 2012/13 North East Regional Barista Competition, hosted by Dallis Bros. Coffee.

When: February 20-22, 2013
Where: Attic Studios, 11-05 44th Road, Third Floor, Long Island City, NY 11101.
Times: Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Thursday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Friday: 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

The event, which was originally slated to take place in November in Atlantic City, was postponed after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy only days before the first day of competition. All prior NERBC competitors will remain registered to compete and the SCAA will open a waiting list for those wanting to sign up if any original competitors drop out; competition spots will be given on a first come, first serve basis.

“Dallis Bros Coffee is extremely proud and excited to host the NERBC and Brewers Cup for the third consecutive year.” States John Moore, VP of Dallis Bros. Coffee. “2013 marks the 100 year anniversary for Dallis Bros and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than alongside some of the most talented, innovative, driven, and passionate coffee professionals in the region right here in Queens, NYC. People throughout the northeast region have a reputation for resilience and grit, and it feels especially gratifying to bring the competition back to where Sandy hit so many so hard. We hope that all in attendance will join us in celebrating the remarkable talent and hard work of the competitors, judges, and all those part of making the coffee culture of the northeast so special and distinct.”
For additional information about the Regional Barista Competitions, visit www.usbaristachampionship.org.

And a word from our sprudgers

Our busy and incredible weekend hosting the NERBC last Saturday and Sunday would never have been the same without the pinnacle of coffee journalism, sprudge.com in attendance to keep score, shoot video, conduct interviews, and generally act like our event was as important and exciting as we think it was. Zachary and Jordan took a minute to share this exclusive video with us, and their final thoughts on the best region in the nation.

“It seems impossible, but the NERBC weekend has come and gone. It was an intense competition to say the least. In just 5 short years, the Northeast region has become home to many of the best cafes, baristas, and roasters in America, a vibrant community that fielded a record 46 competitors between the Barista Competition and Brewers Cup events. We came away stunned by the quality of routines throughout the weekend, and an atmosphere that felt more like a national event than a mere regional. A huge part of that excitement can be credited to the organizational and event planning work of the Dallis Bros. team, who were wise to pair this event with the 7th Annual Coffee and Tea Festival NYC. As hundreds of curious New Yorkers filed in and out of the competition space, it was at times tough to move, tough to think, tough to breathe, but it certainly made for an exciting room, with by far the largest audience of any regional event this year. Kudos to Dallis Bros. and the SCAA for planning, then managing to execute such an incredible weekend.

Sprudge.com provided event coverage throughout the weekend, both live on Twitter and via our home page. Curious readers can relive the weekend by visiting this link, a portal to all of our NERBC features, including videos, photos and recaps – 17 pieces of coverage and counting. Our work at NERBC would never have been possible without the sponsorship and on-site support of Dallis Bros. – we remain indebted to the fine folks who make Dallis Bros. such an important part of the American specialty coffee community.

Dallis Bros. did more than just organize this event. They also fielded four top-notch competitors: Mike DeJesus and Philip Search in the Barista Competition, and Teresa von Fuchs and William McAllister in the Brewers Cup. Mr. DeJesus competed using Dallis Bros. Andino Especial and Finca Monte Redonda Narino, both from Colombia, as well as Brazilian coffee from Dallis Bros.’ Fazenda Nossa Senhora Aparecida. His routine was a fan favorite in the audience, and on a personal note, it was a pleasure to meet Mike at the event and have a chance to chat with him throughout the weekend. Meanwhile, last year’s NERBC champion, Philip Search, offered up a routine that included made-to-order affogatos and no shortage of skill. Both were a delight to watch—Dallis has so much to be proud of, and we look forward to watching these competitors and their routines for years to come.

We can’t say enough about how much fun this year’s NERBC was. The competition was wild, loud, vibrant, exciting, challenging, packed, incredibly competitive, and deeply memorable—the essence of New York City, distilled into a barista competition. As journalists, we could not have asked for more. Congratualtions, Dallis Bros., for putting together such a very special event—til we meet again at NERBC 2013, we want to take this chance to say “thank you” for your sponsorship, your support, and for the very important role you play in the American specialty coffee community. Attending and reporting on your event has truly been our pleasure.”

-Jordan and Zachary
Sprudge.com

And just like that it’s over

Photo (c) 2012 Clay Williams

In the blink of an eye, it’s done! How did months of practice and hair-pulling-out go up in a puff of purged steam? And yet it happens that way every year…

As proud parents of this year’s regional competition, we’d like to take a moment to thank those who helped us so much in getting the event off the ground and providing a format to showcase the very best of New York City coffee and coffee expertise. (Yes, we know thirteen other states competed — but it was Gotham that’s home to both Brewer’s Cup and the NERBC Champ! Fantastic!)

Photo (c) 2012 Clay Williams

We’d like to thank, first and foremost, the Coffee and Tea Festival for providing the framework to let us share our competition with their extremely popular, sold-out show. And to the SCAA, the United States Barista Championship, and the Barista Guild of America for their tireless efforts in making these events happen nationwide. And to Marcus Boni and Amber Sather for being the magicians behind each and every amazing competition. Without all of you, and our judges, volunteers, station maintenance cleaners, people hauling jugs of water—we’d never have the chance to celebrate our region’s talents like this.

Another inspiring competition and another great day in New York City coffee.

NERBC 2012 Winners!!

2012 NERBC Champion Katie Carguilo visiting the Dallis Bros. Coffee midtown coffee farm.

And thus concludes another successful Northeast Regional Barista Competition! Thank you to all who attended, volunteered, competed, tuned in and twitted about this crazy-fun-nonstop weekend.

Without further ado, we are pleased to congratulate the 2012 winners of both the NERBC and Brewer’s Cup!

NERBC Winners:

1. Katie Carguilo, Counter Culture Coffee, New York, New York
2. Jordan Barber, Third Rail Coffee, New York, New York
3. Park Brannen, Handsome Coffee Roasters, New York, New York

Brewer’s Cup:

1. Jordan Barber, Third Rail Coffee, New York, New York
2. Brady Guinn, Pavement Coffee, Boston, Massachusetts
3. Tamara Vigil, Irving Farm Coffee, New York, New York

Liveblogging the NERBC Via Sprudge.com!

Yesterday’s by-the-minute updates from Sprudge.com.

The NERBC is live as hell! Reporting from the 11th floor midtown Manhattan, with a stunning skyline as our backdrop. You can play along via Twitter by following the hashtag #NERBC, or keep up to date here with our liveblog. Newest posts at the bottom!

Urban Eisley, Ports Coffee NYC – competes using Stumptown Guatemala El Injerto and Kenya Gatomboya

8:35am this is mr. eisley’s first time competing at #nerbc – “roasted almond, baker’s chocolate, papaya or guava from the gatomboya” – espresso

8:40 Urban’s signature drink: cherry reduction, egg yolk, almond infused cream + almond honey, pulls shot of injerto / gatomboya and asks judges to stir

8:41 urban eisley offers a steady first performance to start the day at #nerbc – calls time at 14:35 – @stumptowncoffee done proud

Rose-Emma Lunderman, of Root Hill Coffee, Brooklyn – competes using Dallis Bros. Coffee (Dominican and Brazillian Peaberry)

8:52 “i’m from upstate new york, and to be honest, i didn’t really know what a cappuccino was” – @relunderma of @roothillcafe

8:53 there’s a charming kind of debutante wonder to @relunderma’s routine – she’s new to coffee, and she’s owns that fact -

8:58 Rose’s signature drink: cocoa, bay leaves, nutmeg, cinnamon in a crock pot – raspberry whip cream – @relunderma’s version of a “dominican cocoa tea”

Tamara Vigil, Irving Farm Coffee, New York – competes using Irving Farm Honduras Cerro Gacho

9:11 tamara asks of the judges – “what kind of coffee do you like?” – the judges answer! “kenyan…ethiopian…” #chit-chat

9:18 Tamara competes uses Honduran coffee from Irving farms. She describes it as having a “bright, punchy acidity – nutty finish” – sparkling body – nutty flavors accentuated by milk #nerbc

9:22 her coffee from Irving Farm was produced by Jose Luis Estevez Medrano on his farm, Cerro Gacho, in Honduras

9:30 great routine, but she’s DQ’d – look forward to watching her compete again next year, or in Portland

Cara Vincente of Think Coffee NYC – competes using El Salvador Himalaya, sourced by Think, roasted by Dallis Bros.

9:42 cara vincente of @thinkcoffeenyc makes a salvadoran horchata for sig drink – “spicy, earthy, nutty, sweet” – cashews! sesame! want!

9:46 whoa – cara vincente calls time at like 10:45 – that has got to be some kind of record, seriously. @nickcho can you verify?

Calen Robinette of Voltage Coffee, Cambridge, MA – competed using Guatemala Buena Esperanza, roasted by Barismo.

10:06 Calen’s entire shop came down from Boston, that’s awesome

Jonathan Payne of Joe NYC – competes using Piandamo Colombia, roasted by @eccocaffe for @joecoffeenyc

1o:12 “sweetness, freshness, red wine tartness, savory creamy depth like herbs and cheese” – jonathan payne on his espresso

10:25 gutsy routine from jonathan payne @joecoffeenyc calls time at 15:58, makes a point to finish his routine with the judges – hardcore.

Tommy Green of Tiny’s Giant, NYC – competes using Honduras Las Amazonas and Finca Liquidamber roasted by @dalliscoffee

10:38 tommy green’s twitter handle is @tommygbaby, but tommy green does not, in any way, look like his twitter handle should be @tommygbaby

10:40 his sig drink is a take on the tequila slammer – star anise, strained – adds espresso, requests a stir, lick the spoon, drink

Josh Littlefield of Johnson and Wales University, Providence, RI – competes using (will update)

10:51 Josh uses milk form a rhode island dairy cooperative…”it enhances espresso, but doesn’t cover it”

10:57 josh loses his mic – doesn’t even look phased – incredibly professional, didn’t miss a beat, still smiling!

10:59 for sheer tenacity and professionalism, josh littlefield’s is 1 of the best routines all year – you would NEVER know his mic was off

11:00 creme brulee sig drink on top of all of that -blowtorches! mic failures! josh littlefield is the http://sprudge.com #nerbc hero thus far

Rachel Haughey of EspressoNEAT, Darien, CT – competes using Handsome Coffee Roasters Fisticuffs blend, currently Colombia San Sebastian and Honduras Don Merdado

11:12 @rachelhaughey drops some espressos, super intentional with the judges – “i’ll give you a moment to evaluate that individually”

11:24 clever drips honduran – san sebastian updosed espresso – no added ingredients for the sig drink from @rachelhaughey

Charlie Biando of Shot Tower Coffee, Philly – competes using Counter Culture Coffee PNG Baroida

11:38 charlie’s sig drank: condensed almond milk, orange juice, simple syrup, muddled – bartender shake for aromatics – strained into espresso

11:40 charlie biando works as he talks, pulling shots while explaining processing – washed, de-pulped, in good hands

11:43 charlie calls time at 15:09 – in a word, poised.

Sam Penix of Everyman Espresso NYC:

11:49 @everymannY sam competes w/ finca mauritania from @aidabattle – microlots sourced for @counter_culture’s pro series training courses

11:57 @everymanNY going for capps with “high quality dark chocolate” flavor notes

12:03 @everymanNY sig drink inspired by supply chain – meyer lemon juice, “very special sugar”, concord grape foam, shot of mauritania

12:08 this regional is SO new york – it’s busy, it’s crowded, it’s full of angry old ladies, the performances are amazing, it’s DOG EAT DOG

Mike Morganstern of Joe NYC

12:21 creamy, delicious peanut butter cup – easy to drink – mike morganstern of @joecoffeenyc on his capps at #nerbc

Mike Dejesus of Dallis Bros. Coffee

12:30 mike dejesus – SO new york – competes with colombian and brazillian coffees from @dalliscoffee – gotta love this guy

12:46 these are unforgiving competitions…slight spill from mike dejesus at 14:30, unable to serve all 4 judges a sig drink – harsh.

Jordan Barber, Third Rail Coffee

12:59 hustles through a cd skip…no change in expression, no loss of focus…jordan barber of @thirdrailcoffee is the honey badger of

1:01 intentionally does not reveal his coffee during his routine

NERBC Day One!

There’s nothing like a sunny springlike Saturday in midtown (that ends in snow) to commemorate one of the busiest days of the year in coffee. Yesterday’s first round of the Northeast Regional Barista Competition at the Coffee and Tea Festival was a doozy! From 8am til 6pm, baristas and brewers teamed up—along with volunteers aplenty cleaning, helping, and making coffee on the “Fourth Machine”.

We were proud as punch to watch the six (!) NERBC competitors who used our coffee, from Rose-Emma Lunderman’s poised delivery to Justin Schulz’ leek centerpiece to Cara Vincente’s horchata infusion to Mike D’s stage debut to Tommy Green’s early morning Tequila Slammer. And did we mention Philip Search made ICE CREAM on stage, using ziploc bags of ice cubes and the touch of the master? We love this stuff. (Our Brewer’s Cup entrants, Bill McAllister and Teresa von Fuchs, nailed it as well—when they weren’t busy volunteering and judging, of course! When do these people sleep?)

Everyone in attendance (and there were A HUGE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE IN ATTENDANCE, to the point they had to take the chairs away) was blown away by the overall quality of all the competitors. Espresso NEAT’s Rachel Houghey pulled off her first competition like it was old hat; Counter Culture Coffee’s Katie Cargiulo dropped serious science, and Philly kids Charlie Biando and Brian Gelletley truly brought it. We’ll see many of these folks again in Portland, but the ones we’ll see today are as follows:

2012 NERBC Finals Schedule:

1. Jordan Barber, Third Rail Coffee, New York, New York

2. Park Brannen, Handsome Coffee Roasters, New York, New York

3. Brandon Duff, RBC, New York, New York

4. Katie Carguilo, Counter Culture Coffee, New York, New York

5. Brian Gelletly, Ultimo Coffee, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

6. Sam Lewontin, Everyman Espresso, New York, New York

Way to keep it in the city, New York! We’ve been at this for 99 years, but it’s nothing short of moving to have the team effort of this city’s amazing coffee community to cement us, indisputably, on the world map of great coffee. Wonderful job everybody and good luck today!