by Cortney Preuss-Greene
The competition was intense. Kean Coffee definitely brought their "A game" and it was pretty much Klatch V.S. Kean (for the most part). Day 1 was interesting because we were unable to see the competitors latte art, so we had no way of knowing how or where we stood. Kean Coffee's Missy ended up making it to the final round against last year's ultimate barista, Mike (from Kean Coffee). Mike was able to hold onto his title.
Day 2 was the frappe challenge. I was confident in my drink but just hoping that I could craft it with my 5 minute timeline. My tropical frappe drink, the Honoli'i was named after my favorite place in Hawaii. It featured an eclectic collection of mango, guava and coconut fruity flavors that went head to head with an apricot, ginger, molasses frappe. I was so excited after hearing that I had won and would go on to compete in the final round. I knew that the Ultimate Barista's (Mike) Chocolate Blueberry Chip had the potential to be great. However, when it came to the judges, they loved the taste of my drink along with the consistency and presentation.
Day 3 was the Brew Challenge. I felt not as prepared for this one because I had never competed in a brewing competition before. The night before, I felt like dropping out as I did the morning of. With a little encouragement, I went for it. I brewed Don Pachi Geisha Natural because the farm is very dear to my heart. When I was traveling through Central America, Don Pachi's son, Francisco showed me around the farm and shared tons of info with me. This was the basis for my presentation, to share the story of seed to cup with the judges. John from Rancho brewed an excellent cup of Elida and I knew it could be close. I was happy and proud of myself for what I had done and shocked when they announced my name. For the finals, Mike brewed a cup from Costa Rica Santa Anna. He definitely brought it, presentation and all, and I had to fight for it. In the end, it was close and I won only by 2 points.
Although it's burning hot in Southern California, It seems like it's just raining with good news in Klatchville. Along with our three Panamas that "Swept the Podium", this is definitely a momentum builder for Klatch Coffee to be one of the elite Specialty Coffee Roasters in Southern California and beyond.
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