Meet Southeast Regional Brewers Cup Champion Jonathan Bonchak!

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As the proud Media Sponsor of the United States Barista Championship since 2005, Barista Magazine has always compiled and produced a beautiful printed program that serves as a guide, collectors item, introduction to the Regional Barista Champions and the Regional Brewers Cup Champions, all the party info for the SCAA show, and much more! 2013 is no different. This year’s Official United States Barista Championship.U.S. Brewers Cup Event Program is at the printer right now! But we thought we’d give you a sneak peek at some of the most popular content in the program, the Regional Barista Competition Champs and Regional Brewers Cup Champs profiles.

JONATHAN BONCHAK
SOUTHEAST REGIONAL BREWERS CUP CHAMPION
COUNTER CULTURE COFFEE
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA

One of the best parts of being a Brewers Cup Champ like Jonathan Bonchak? Being the brew master on every camping trip.

One of the best parts of being a Brewers Cup Champ like Jonathan Bonchak? Being the brew master on every camping trip.

 

How long have you been a barista?
8 years.

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If you could offer any advice to baristas interested in competing in the Brewers Cup, what would it be?
Choose the coffee that makes you most excited, not the one you think will win or that has name recognition. Let that personal connection and enthusiasm run through your entire set, and keep going back to that spark to help you remember why you’re putting yourself through this.

What do you particularly like about the Brewers Cup format? And why is it a good and timely event for the specialty coffee industry?
I love the Brewers Cup for two reasons: 1) It’s a great entry point for people who might be intimidated by the barista competition but who want to put themselves out there and compete. 2) Personally, I love to make coffee one cup at a time. And I know that my customers enjoy it, too. But the competition forces you to understand better what really happens when coffee extracts, and what you have control over to make the coffee taste its best. We talk a lot about baristas being that last link in the chain from seed to cup, and how important that final step of preparation and service is. That is valuable to me and to specialty coffee. Putting myself through a competition like this has made me a better barista, which means I have an even greater opportunity to highlight all the amazing work done before me in the chain.

If you could travel to any producing country, what would it be and why?
Ethiopia. I’ve competed with the same Ethiopian coffee two years in a row—Haru, the co-op member community/washing station of Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union—and there’s nothing I’d like more than to go there, experience the homeland of coffee, participate in the community, and thank them for the massive amount of work that goes into producing this amazing coffee.

How do you make coffee at home?

Just for me? Bonmac Pro Cone. For myself and friends? Chemex 10 cup.

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.