Portland dominated at last year's Northwest Regional Barista Competition in Tacoma, while Seattle baristas barely showed up to compete. But with this year's battle actually taking place in the birthplace of the Venti Caramel Frappuccino this past weekend, would Seattle finally serve up a steaming cup of victory...?
No. For the second year in a row, the competition was won by Portland barista Devin Chapman of Coava Coffee, who also took out fourth place in last year's national championships.
"Mr. Chapman competed and won at the NWRBC using a coffee from producer David Mancia, grown at “Finca La Familia” in the Santa Barbara department of Honduras. In a complex, layered 15 minute routine, Devin talked his judges through the experience of visiting Mr. Mancia and his farms in Honduras, and the lasting effect it had on Mr. Chapman’s concept of service, family, and the similar goals of quality-focused baristas and producers. His signature beverage was particularly demanding and required a great deal of multitasking, as Mr. Chapman pulled shots and partially constructed the beverage throughout his routine. He paired his David Mancia espresso with milk infused with cedar & honey comb, filtered into whey – “the essence of milk without the heaviness” – then added “carbonated strawberries”, which is to say, an actual strawberry charged with C02."
In what may be some consolation to our Northern neighbors, second place was won by Seattle barista Cole McBride. Third place went to Collin Schneider of Portland's Sterling Coffee Roasters.
In less thrilling news, for the first time in the competition's history (a competition that has only been going for three years, but still), Portland did not win the simultaneously run Northwest Brewers Cup, which was taken out by, yes, a Seattle barista. Chapman also won this contest in 2012 and 2011, but did not compete this year.