The final 2011 regional just wrapped up, effectively launching the competition season to the United States Barista Championship (USBC) in Houston (t minus-two weeks and counting). The Northeast Regional, hosted graciously by Dallis Bros. Coffee, effectively combined the New England area and a few outlying states (Ohio, some would argue New York).
Five first time finalists broke into the final round, Philip Search of Dallis Bros. Coffee, Mike Jones of Third Rail Coffee, Wiggles Peters of Irving Farm, Brandon Duff of RBC NYC, and Park Brannen of Cafe Grumpy. Veteran Sam Penix of Everyman Espresso joined the ranks and wrapped up the final round after beginning the final round with a technical difficulty discovered after his competition time. All of the finalists hailed from the Big Apple.
Philip Search placed first, with a performance that featured tamarind flavors and a homemade grinder. Mike Jones took second with a five-part deconstructed tasting of the two-bean espresso blend used, and Park Brannen claimed third in style with a juicy bright espresso served both hot and chilled as a signature drink.
The Brewers Cup took place alongside the NERBC quietly, until its finalist features on Sunday—the final round of the Brewers Cup is the only one where competitors are required to give actual performances. Erin McCarthy of Gimme! Coffee won first place, Anne Nylander of Tamp Tamp, Inc. won second, and Bill McAllister took third.
The NERBC was held at Milk Studios, home of high fashion shoots, showcased the region’s baristas for the weekend in the revived Chelsea district, conveniently across from Chelsea Market (home of fantastic artisan food and a Ninth Street Espresso location).
Gracious hosts at Dallis Brothers spoke of the coffee community uniting and highlighted coffee education and edification with lectures and classes at a 5th machine bar in the lobby (coffee was not sparse in the studio space). One class on day two included the history of coffee culture with New York as it’s birthplace. Northwest, please contact Dallis Brothers with your disputes to this claim.
Last year’s NERBC champion, Danielle Glasky, did not relinquish all titles of champion, however, as she won herself a trip with Dallis Brothers to Brazil for her pour at the Saturday night coffee people party. The design was not her choice; a bicycle wheel was spun to determine what design each bracketed competitor would pour.
The NYC location also increased spectator turnout, which leads me to say: Dallis Brothers, thank you, and host again!