Northwest Cup Tasters League In Full Swing!

cup taster

Barista Mag loves supporting groups and projects like the Northwest Cup Tasters League. I think it’s such a great idea to make parts of your every day job into super fun events. Latte art throwdowns continue to be popular, and I think doing events around cup tasting can be totally fun, as well.

This was the third Northwest Cup Tasters League gathering, and like the previous two events, it's was a big success and a lot of fun.

This was the third Northwest Cup Tasters League gathering, and like the previous two events, it’s was a big success and a lot of fun.

Proving the point is the Northwest Cup Tasters League (NWCTL), which had its most recent event in Seattle last week. Organizer David Yake of Tony’s Coffee wrote to tell me all about it, and sent photos from the party. It looked like so much fun!

The event was very well attended. Nearly 20 people participated in the tasting, and many others came to watch and cheer on the participants. The first round was very interesting, as it included coffees from our [Tony’s Coffee buyers, including David] recent trip to Colombia,” David writes of the event, which was held at the Tony’s cafe in Seattle.



“We had a couple of very special coffees from our friends at Granja La Esperanza on the table, including Laurina (the naturally decaffeinated mutation of Bourbon that was discovered in Madagascar) and Sudan Rume, a very rare varietal that pops with tropical fruit notes.

cup taster

The final table for the recent NWCTL event was crazy—they were all the same coffees! But they had been ground at different times. Crazy hard!

“The competition was very stiff, with many competitors getting 6 out of 8 coffees correct. Time ended up being the tie-breaker to decide which 5 competitors advanced to the final round. In the final round we had coffees from Ruby Roasters, Passion House and Tony’s. This final table was probably the most difficult to date, as each set of three coffees were, in fact, the same coffee. The only thing difference between the cups was that one was ground the night before (which is surprisingly difficult to pick out).

cup tasters

Bronwen Serna (far right) tabulates the score sheets (and eats carrots).

“Our winner, Ryan Daniel, was actually the slowest to complete the final round, but won since he guessed the highest number of correct cups. We want to thank our sponsors, Bonavita for providing the brewers that we use for the events as well as prizes for the top 3 tasters, as well as Baratza, Espresso Parts, and Barista Magazine.

Tony’s also provided a delicious keg from Fremont Brewing, which was enjoyed by all.”

Thanks for the report, David! Looking forward to details on the next event (to be announced shortly).

cup taster

The winners! Left to right: 2nd place – Benji
1st place – Ryan
3rd place – Ponch

About the Author


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.