I had the pleasure of traveling to the USBC (United States Barista Competition) and the SCAA expo this past weekend on behalf of Studio Holladay (which is where I work as the Art Director). The goal was to meet new people in the industry, reminisce with old friends, and not the least, to support our hometown coffee professionals and friends that were competing in the Barista Competition.

Everyone that I’ve told of the Barista Competition that isn’t familiar with the coffee industry doesn’t quite understand the gravity of the presentations and the impressive thought and preparation that goes into each one. This year’s presentations involved liquid nitrogen, physics, and even rare and unknown varietals that haven’t even made it to the general market yet. All-in-all, the weekend was filled with new introductions, interesting conversations, brilliant performances, and lots of coffee.

Verve Coffee Roasters sent three of their best coffee professionals to the conference and competition, Lizzy Sampson (who finished third in the Southwest Regionals), Jared Truby (who took first in the SWRBC), and Chris Baca (who didn’t compete in the regionals, but was a welcome surprise nonetheless). Ritual Coffee Roasters sent their own Kevin Bohlin, and Annie McGee. Unfortunately, I wasn’t around for both of their performances, so I only caught Kevin’s.

By the end of the competition, Verve came away boasting two of the top 6 baristas in the nation! Jared took 5th and Chris took 3rd. Congratulations to the both of them. I’m proud to say that I know them and support their cafe every day.