All in 'Good Spirits'

All in 'Good Spirits'


Klatch Coffee Hosts US CoffeeChamps Prelims for 2020

During October 4th-6th, we at Klatch Coffee hosted 5 events for the US CoffeeChamps. The Preliminaries are Community Driven Events – competitions at the local level. These events are a low-cost option that allows for a broader reach, and more accessibility for people to step into the competing world. Throughout the US, there were a number of host locations where these took place. Klatch Coffee hosted all competition categories: Barista, Brewers, Coffee in Good Spirits, Cup Tasters, and Roasters. Competitors who win in the Prelims earn a spot for the qualifying competition.
On Friday October 4th, the judges met for a full day of calibration. This process allows them to make sure they're judging in alignment with US CoffeeChamps as well as judging the same way as a team. The event, held at Klatch Coffee, was a great opportunity for judges to get to know each other.

On Saturday October 5th, the events began at 9 AM. Breville launched their 'Back Alley' festivities which included hands on demos, making your own Golden Bean lattes on aBarista Pro (manual) or Oracle Touch (automatic) espresso machine. Breville - the Breville Precision Brewer™ Glass were brewing Klatch coffee. Pizzas flowed all day made with Breville - the Smart Oven® Pizzaiolo.

In-between the Coffee and Good Spirits Competition a Latte Art Throwdown done with the Breville machines. The winner of the Throwdown Joseph won a Breville Brarista Pro espresso machine and the cash buy-in.

A Fun-Filled Experience: Competitor Perspective

We have two competitors moving to qualifiers, Robby Hainley placed 3rd. Our Jen McElroy placed 2nd, Klatch Coffee Fontana location Manager, held her own in the first prelims for Coffee and Good Spirits. This is her fifth time competing in the USCC and her second for Coffee and Good Spirits.

Jen McElroy 2nd Place & Robby Hainley 3rd Place

We asked Jen about what her experience was like. She said, "Competing in Coffee In Good Spirits for the US Coffee Champs prelims was a crazy-fun experience. I competed last year in Qualifiers and US for the same event, yet this was the first year it was held as a preliminary event; and boy oh boy was it different. We knew just a few weeks before competition exactly what 3 alcohol options we would be potentially using. We were given three different liquors, a rum, gin, and whiskey, and were told that we would be using only 1 during competition. The catch was, we wouldn't know until right before we competed which alcohol we would be using.

This made it tricky, as we had to come up with three drinks that could be ready to go. I did a lot of practice at home. I was constantly brewing coffee and putting together different recipes. I tried to dissect each liquor the best I could to figure out how to best compliment its flavors. I then tried to put together recipes for each drink that had similar flavor profiles and would all work with the same type of coffee. The other catch was, we didn't know what kind of coffee we would be using until the day before we competed. We had to do a blind tasting of 5 different coffees. I did my best to find a coffee that matched what I had mostly been practicing with at home. This competition takes a lot of trial and error. I would
sometimes make the same drink 5 times, all using different ratios of ingredients and would have my family and work family taste them so we could figure out which worked the best. I'm not going to lie, this is a fun competition to prepare for, but also a bit stressful. Since it is so new to the competition circuit, a lot of things are still unknown. I ended up competing with the run, which was the alcohol I was most nervous about, but I think it came out exactly how I wanted. I am excited to learn from my mistakes and achievements and prelims, and take it to qualifiers and only improve." - Jen McElroy
About this event:
Competitors are provided with compulsory coffee(s) and alcohol. Competitors will choose from 2 or more compulsory coffees in a blind tasting. Competitors randomly select their primary alcohol by with a spin wheel!
Whiskey - Tullamore
Gin - Botanist
Rum - Zaya

Tracking time elapsed during the 6 minute competition/performance time is the responsibility of the competitor, though they may ask for a time check at any point. The competition timekeeper will give the competitor a 3 minute, 1 minute, and 30 second warning during their 7 minutes of competition time.

Jen McElroy & Robby Hainley will be at Qualifiers in Orange County, CA | OC Fair & Event Center
  • Feb
    22-23, 2020
    : Coffee in Good Spirits, Cup
    Tasters, and Roaster Qualifying Competitions

Who gets to move on to the Qualifiers?

For Barista competitors the top 4 competitors from each Prelim receive a
reserved spot at one of the CoffeeChamps Qualifying Competitions.
Brewers Cup top 4 competitors from each Prelim receive a reserved
spot at one of the CoffeeChamps Qualifying Competitions.

Jenn Hwang of Klatch Coffee, earned a spot in the qualifiers from her win at the last Competition. She was a judge for this year's prelim event. She will be competing for the 3rd time in February with the same coffee that just won Silver for ‘Pour Over’ in the Golden Bean Competition.

Orange County, CA | OC Fair & Event Center
  • Feb 21-23, 2020: U.S. Barista Championship and U.S. Brewers Cup
Cup Tasters competitors only need to bring their palate! Cupping spoons are provided by the Host. The Top 3 competitors from each Prelim receive a reserved spot at one of the CoffeeChamps Qualifying Competitions.
Green coffee from Ally was given to Roaster competitors 2-3 weeks prior to their Prelim. Competitors will roast the coffee and bring it with them for the competition weekend. All cupping/tasting equipment will be supplied by the Host!

Find out more about the competition:
MORE photos here: Photo Album

Rancho Cucamonga #USCCPrelims rankings now available! Congratulations to all of the finalists from this weekend's competitions – can't wait to see you at the #USCoffeeChamps Qualifying Events! ⠀ ⠀

1. Kay Cheon, Dune Coffee ⠀
2. Tae-Wan Kim, Copa Vida ⠀
3. Rodrigo Vargas, Elixr Coffee Roasters ⠀
4. Nathan Ngo, Dune Coffee ⠀
5. Austin Amento, Augie's Coffee ⠀
6. Kristi Persinger, Stumptown ⠀ ⠀
1. Kathie Hilberg, Stumptown ⠀
2. Jeremy Ecklund, Dune Coffee ⠀
3. Monica Sandoval, Augie's Coffee ⠀
4. Michael Replan, Independent ⠀ ⠀
1. Daniel Shorl, Augie's Coffee ⠀
2. Jen McElroy, Klatch Coffee ⠀
3. Hainley, Klatch Coffee ⠀ ⠀
1. Max Martinelli, Ascendo Coffee ⠀
2. Taylor Sullivan, Philz Coffee ⠀
3. Luke Jung, Ghost Roasters ⠀ ⠀
4. Joel Lohner, Theory Collaborative
1. Evan Inatome, Elixr Coffee Roasters ⠀
2. Brian Gomez, The Roasted Bean ⠀
3. Alex Huang, Aroma Craft Coffee ⠀
Full rankings available at
Looking for more images? Visit our FB page.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published