Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
opinions and articles
Reports From the Road
USBC 2005 Day 2 & Semi Finals
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: March 29, 2005
Article rating: 9.9
feedback: (20) comments | read | write

Wow, did we ever snap a lot of photos from the 2005 United States Barista Championships! We had over 450 photos to choose from, from the Day Two of competition alone, and another 250 or so from the Semi Finals day. Below you'll find a series of photo essays, including a look at judging, random photos from the event, and featured mini-series of various Baristi doing their thing. Hope you enjoy!

Judging at the USBC

As you can probably tell from our article on Judges' Certification judging is a pretty difficult job. The USBC had a good core of judges this year, and they all took the task seriously. That said, there were a couple of performers (hint hint Jay... hint hint John H.) who tried hard to make judges "break kafabe", or show emotion in the form of laughter. Lemme tell you - it's tough being a judge! ;)

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Conferring
A judge confers with a head judge on a point of contention on their forms. Judges do this, but with discretion, as to not throw off the competitor.
Waiting...
Before each flight of five competitors, judges wait to be announced to the crowd.
More conferring
In behind the competition area, judges will sometimes confer to make sure everyone is calibrated.
Tasting
Each judge has their own tasting technique, but some standards exist - shape, colour of crema, smell, and of course, taste.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Cappuccinos
Cappuccinos are studied as if under a microscope for a variety of elements, including density of foam, volume of foam, and more.
The forms
The forms contain lots of areas for judges' notes to the competitors - competitors get their judging sheets after competition.
Techies
Technical judges have so much to watch for, and have a set of two stopwatches to time shots.
Checking Cups
At the start of competition, judges will check cups on top of the machines.

Random Imagery of USBC

I've tried to provide a good sampling of other things going on at the USBC with the photos below - pics of the crowds, pics of behind the scenes, and some pics of competitors who are not included in this round of "features" (below).

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
What it's all about
The first place trophy... it's going to the national champion!
2nd Place
In beautiful silver plating...
3rd Place
The trophies are really nice this year.
Waiting...
Gimme Coffee's Chris Deferio waits behind the screen for his rollout time.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Jarrett's Tie
Barry Jarrett had *the* best tie at the show - a corrugated steel tie!
Sparse early on
Crowd wasn't very big in the early days of the competition, but picked up by the semis and the finals. Still...
Ellie in Action
Ellie from Intelligentsia during Day Two. Look for her feature in the Finals report.
Mo Ellie
Ellie talks to the Emcee and crowd.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Shot pullin'
Competitors have fifteen minutes to "warm up", including calibrating their grinders and shots...
John Sanders
One of the senior judges (not judging this day tho) confers with a runner.
Setting up...
While Billy Wilson sets up, he chats with wunderkind organizer of the USBC - Michelle Campbell.
Sherri Johns
Sherri talks with fellow judge Andre about the finer points of the competition.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Tamping
Tip to competitors - your technique doesn't matter as much as your consistency when tamping... this Barista was great.
The Setting...
Super Aaron
I gotta tell you - Aaron DeLazzer was one of the main cleaner guys between competitors, and he left the stations showroom clean - amazing job...
Nervous! Not!
Just happened to catch a moment where Elly was pursing her lips with a bit of tongue... but I'll tell you - she was definitely not showing nervousness her round up there.

Random Action Shots

Some of the best photos I took during competition were vertical (portrait shots) that just really captured some of the most intense action. Check these out!

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Wilson
Billy was all business during his set on day 2.
Perry
Heather's sig drink was very intriguing.
Grinding
Heather, like many Baristi, had her knock box set up below the huge Mazzer Robur.
Steaming
At this level, the Baristi all knew the art of steaming perfect milk.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Hornall
John setting up the table for the judges.
Tamping
John tamps so fast, I was lucky to capture this image...
Lewis
Jon's tamping technique, as a blur.
Finish
As he finishes over his custom floor-sitting knockbox, the tamp is perfect.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Running down...
Jon Lewis in the semis, trying to finish while remaining cool.
Judging
A flight of judges about to try an espresso round.
Tran
Phuong getting her espresso cups set up.
Grinding
Phuong's grinding techniques were some of the best at the competition.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Knock Box
A growing trend - note the knock box right under the Robur grinder.
Dennhardt
Ryan's dosing technique, defined.
The pour
Ryan had a nifty thing - very 5 star waiter - he'd fold his unused hand towards his waist and keep it there.
Steaming
Ryan was steaming his milk perfectly in competition.

The Performers - Jon Lewis, Doma Cafe, Idaho.

I'll say this about Jon Lewis - there probably wasn't another performer who had better potential (and in many cases, execution of that potential) in their presentation. Jon had it all - a theme, beautiful accompaniments, and a spectacular setting. Several things were a bit of a hamper to him - as noted by the judges, his coffee wasn't the greatest of the day, and in his semi finals, his spritzer bottle had serious technical difficulties, changing the taste of his sig drink and creating a mess on the show floor. Even in the first round when the sig drink was properly prepared, it was delicious but coffee flavours were difficult to find. And also in is first round, the emcee on duty during that flight was terrible, but that was a minor thing.

Jon was my secret "pick" for winning the USBC, but it goes to show that even if your presentation is perfect, one can still be let down by the coffee. Here's Jon's first round performance, in photos.

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Setting
Jon had this amazing fountain made out of grinder burrs, for the judges' table.
Setting pt. 2
The table set, Jon set off to start building drinks.
Shells
John's first two drink rounds were carried on this beautiful setting of natural shells as saucers.
Perfect Caps
Visually, Jon's capps were stunning in their presentation and setting.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Serving
The judges get served the first round - the cappuccinos.
Heating
Jon heats his cups for the espresso round.
Tamping Matt
Jon has a rolled bamboo matt for under the grinder - tricky stuff! Grinds can fall down between the slats, fooling a sleeping judge.
Espresso
The tiny shells for espresso were amazing.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Serving
Judges got the espresso round on a unique serving tray.
Sig Time
Shots pulled for Jon's signature drinks.
Spritzer
The spritzer - worked in the first round, didn't work so well in the semis.
Sig Serving
Jon's sig drink was a take on "beer" - he used barley to good effect, and served a bubbly drink.

Performer - Heather Perry, Coffee Klatch, California

Heather Perry is the 2003 United States Barista Champion, and a constantly good performer who in many ways sets standards other Baristi attempt to match or surpass. She has toned down her performance somewhat this year, showing much maturity and a new style of finesse she didn't have in the past. Again, she was let down slightly by her coffee. I should preface this though - no one competitor's coffee was bad... Heather's was amazing, like most competitors. But at this level and with the weighing of the forms as they are towards taste, only "perfection" in taste will carry the day. Some were more perfect than others. I sampled Heather's capps and espresso in the back, and while the espresso was old, and not comment worthy, her capps were spectacular to my taste buds.

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Heather Perry
Mucho concentration as she finishes up her 15 minutes prep time.
Judges
Checking the machine at start of competition.
Setting...
Heather sets the table, and addresses each judge by name.
Drink building
Early on, Heather was setting up elements of her sig drink.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Dosing
Heather's a machine when it comes to dose and tamp techniques.
Intense
Intense tamp was consistent throughout her performance.
Capps
Cappuccino building on going.
Evaluate
Judges evaluate the foam on Perry's cappuccinos.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Sig Building
More sig building taking place.
Sig Patience
Heather's sig drink looked amazing. I wish I could have tasted it.
Still building
Her sig took a lot of time, but she made up for it by pounding out her capps and espresso quickly.
Shots for Sig
Last to happen was the actual shots pulled for the sig drink.

Performer - Steve Fritzen, Coffee Hound, Illinois

Steve's a regular on CoffeeGeek (Latt3rt), and had a great performance that got him into the semi finals. It was a genuine pleasure to see one of our own performing to such a high standard. He was decked out, entertaining and robotic as well. (I should note - when I say robotic, that's a high compliment from me with regards to competitions. It means that the competitor is so fluid and consistent in their movements, they are like a robot).

Here's a photo essay of his performance.

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Working Grinder
Steve Fritzen works the grinder like a robot!
Tamping
Steve's tamping technique was polished and consistent. A geniune robot!
Shots
Shots pulled. Note a bit excess of grinds under the grinder though.
Hawk Judges
Judges are all over the competitor, but still keep their distance. Lookit how crisp Steve is!
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Espresso Pulls
Steve's pulls looked great.
More Judging
Vince Piccolo (glasses) was one of Steve's technical judges.
Capp Pouring
Steve had awesome pouring skills on his capps.
Details...
Steve's one of the competitors who paid serious attention to details, like refilling water glasses.

Performer - Phuong Tran, Lava Java, Washington

Phuong is the runner up in the 2004 USBC, and this year, she had some serious game on. By all judging accounts, she got better each round, and her espresso was near the top of class according to judges. The only thing wrong with Phuong's performance is that she's so laid back, so calm and quiet, it's almost boring at times (sorry Phuong!!!). I like serenity and calmness from competitors and actually mark them up a bit on this if they exhibit it - but at the WBC level, there's a certain amount of panache and showpersonship that goes on. Phuong's gonna have to turn up her game a tiny bit on the enthusiasm side, once she's at the WBC levels.

That said, the fact she won the USBC speaks volumes for her drink quality, consistency and professionalism as a Barista. Way to go Phuong! This is her first round performance.

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Final cleanup
Phuong Tran works her station, getting ready for her 15 min competition.
Emcee Talking
Great presence during the emcee talk!
Setting
Competition's on - setting the table for the sensory judges.
Setting
Continued setting of the table, as she talks about her drinks.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Spotless
Phuong garnered a lot of points for the cleanliness of her station.
Espresso
Judges try Phuong's espresso round.
Capps
Capps are started, looking good.
Pouring
Another area Phuong scored high was on her milk texturing and taste.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Presentation
Presentation of the drinks was pretty goood too.
Service
Many competitors made a point of serving women first, men last.
Lots going on
In this wide angle shot, you can see there's a lot going on during competition.
Settings
Phuong's settings were great, with a nice green theme.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Talking the shot
Phuong talking about her sig drink as she builds.
Cool!
Nifty glasses used during Phuong's sig drink phase.
Sig Drink Building
Building the sig drink as judges talk and watch.
Finished
At end of competition, Phuong's all smiles again.

Performer - Ryan Dennhardt, Barista's Daily Grind, Montana

Ryan Dennhardt's a super star, and a guy I'd happily travel 500 miles to get an espresso shot from. I think he finished tops in the semi finals, which shows how good he is. I judged him in the first round, and his drinks were all top notch.

Here's his semis performance.

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Gearing up
Ryan getting into game phase just prior to starting his 15 mins.
Interesting!
Ryan's sig drink components sure look cool.
Hrmm...
Again, these look cool, and lent a "church" like appearance to Ryan's table. But some judges don't like the taste of steel with drinks.
Knock Box
Again with the knock box under the grinder! (kidding - it's all good)
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Sig Drink
Sig drink got partially built throughout his fifteen mins.
Pouring
Ryan opted to pour a "traditional cappuccino" style, which was a-okay by this judge.
Dot on Top
Dots of white, good colour, awesome texture.
Tamper!
Ryan had this super cool thing he always did with his tamper, fliping and twirling it while tamping.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Espresso
Good tiger flecking on his shots, but crema did dissipate quickly.
Comms!
Ryan talks to the judges about his sig drink and what it's composed of.
Intensity
Intensity during the competition.
Building the Sig
Ryan's sig drink tasted awesome. He used an old-school Mexican hot chocolate vessel.

Performer - Mandy Robinson, Brew Mountain Coffee

Mandy Robinson was one of those awesome Baristi who you'd go out of your way to get an espresso from. Her performance was great, and it was a pleasure watching and photographing it.

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Judging
Judging's underway in Mandy's 15 minutes.
Prepping
Mandy was solid, prepping for her sig drink early on.
Steaming
Like many competitors, Mandy did her capps first.
Spot on
Mandy was a machine when it came to tamping. Lookit how little spare coffee she had!
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Beaut!
Pouring a luscious capp.
Finishing it off
Finsihing it off, good texturing and technique.
Capps again
Hey, I have those cups!
Serving
Serving up the capps to the judges.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Espresso
Pulling the espresso shots next.
Judging
Andrew Barnett (a super palatte!) as technical judge, checking timings.
Tasting Capps
Judges taste Mandy's cappuccinos.
Nick!
Nick Cho was a great emcee, and was interacting with Mandy during her session.

Performer - John Hornall, Hines Public Market Coffee, Washington

I'll state up front. John Hornall is probably the best "real time" Barista in the US today. At the bar, in a high paced cafe, he's an absolute rock star. But I worried often how he would do at competition level where some old habits can knock you on technicals and other things.

He did great in his first round. He also told me he had a goal of making everyone laugh at least once - even judges, who are supposed to remain stone faced. He pretty much succeeded in that goal. The photos below are from the semis, where again, he was a machine, but a misunderstanding about how much time left made him go into overdrive, and still finish over time. Check out the shots.

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
John Hornall
John was the senior competitor, and easily one of the best "real time" Baristi in the US today.
Settings
John's capps and espresso saucers set up.
Casual
Before his fifteen minutes, John was all smiles.
Sneak Peek
A sneak peek at the specialized cocoa powder John used.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Waiting Game
Waiting for the judges to come back, John talks to the emcee.
Engaging
John engaging the crowd. He told me he made it his goal to make each judge laugh once.
Lightning
John is lightning fast with the tamper.
Drinks
Espressos. Not to knock John, but at competition level, those cups should have the sides clean.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Judge breaks!
Andrew is one of the most stoic, stone faced judges... but John got him to laugh ;)
Intensity
Don't anyone ever accuse John of not being an intense competitor!
Milk!
Pouring beautifully textured milk.
Mo' Milk
One slight issue - John's prep of capps wasn't consistent - he held some cups, poured on the table for others.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Cleaning
John's workstation was kept sparkling for most of his fifteen minutes.
Sig Build
The building of the sig drinks. Espresso to come.
Espresso!
Sig drinks get their espresso.
Serving
Judges are served their espresso. This was John's semi final performance, and unfortunately, he was over time.

Performer - Jay Caragay, Jay's Shaved Ice and Coffee

Jay's another superstar who's an amazing entertainer at the bar. He was a bit nervous pouring water for the judges in the first round, so with his shaking hand, he said 'a little latte art for your water' and increased the shake.. brilliant! He also had the crowd laughing and did a great job, making the semis with ease. These photos are from both his first round and the semis.

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Jay Caragay
Jay talking to the emcee and crowd before starting.
Crowd
Jay had the crowd laughing like crazy!
Serious...
... for only a moment, as he sets the table.
Setting
continue with setting the table...
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Pulling shots
Jay's pulling his sig drink shots here.
Looking good
Sig drink shots look awesome.
Techie
Tech judging watches Jay like a hawk, scoring everything.
Sig Drink
Sig drink is served, round one over!
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Setting
Beautiful hawaiian themed setting, for the semis.
Smooth
Jay's tamping technique is rock solid smooth.
Table
His setting in the semis was even better than the first round.
Building the Sig
Jay builds part of his sig early on.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Building Capps
Jay steams as his capps are built.
Beautiful
Beautiful capps served in Norma J. cups from Illy.
Capps served
Judges get Jay's cappuccinos.
Espresso
Jay's espressos looked good, but cups could have been cleaned up a smidge.

Performer - Matt Riddle, Intelligentsia Coffee, Illinois

Matt is my hero. Seriously. Here's why. He's primarily the web developer at Intelligentsia, and not a front line, day in day out Barista. Yet he finished high in the regionals, and also finished in the top six in the USBC. He absolutely rocks. His performances were stellar, and his drinks were top drawer. Check it out.

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Matt Sets
Matt Riddle sets the table for judges and serves up some Pellegrino.
Technique
He was an absolute robot on technique (highest compliment I can give).
Luscious
Matt's shots were stunning. He was making the most out of that Black Cat.
Intense!
Intensity defined, while pulling his shots.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Robot Redux
Again, a total robot, he was nearly perfect on technique.
Steaming
Matt's milk was well steamed and textured.
Capps
His capps looked awesome - and I got to taste a couple, and they were spot on.
Serving
Serving up his capps to the judge, his performance was a joy to watch.

Performer - Phuong Tran, Lava Java, Washington

This is Phuong's semi final performance. Poetry in motion. It's also the last featurette of this article, so enjoy!

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Ready Round 2
Phuong talks to the emcee prior to her semi finals fifteen minutes.
Setting
Setting the table for judges.
Set ups
Her settings were almost identical to her first round.
Beautiful
Attention to details went not unnoticed by the judges.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Technique
Again, her technique on the grinder was nearly flawless.
Ditto..
.. on her tamping technique.
Shots
Shots developing, pouring into Zoka branded cups.
Serving espresso
Espresso served, much more to come.
Article rating: 9.9
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: March 29, 2005
feedback: (20) comments | read | write
Reports From the Road Column Archives  
Column Description
One of the more popular pieces of content on the CoffeeGeek website are the reports from major trade shows. We cover shows like no other media source does - giving first hand intimate and frank reports that give you the real scoop on what's going on, from a consumer and a coffee lover's true perspective.

Find out how to submit your story

SCAA Boston 2013 Preview
04.09.2013
Look Back at SCAA 2012
04.08.2013
SCAA Houston Wrapup
05.06.2011
SCAA Houston 2011 Part 1
04.30.2011
SCAA 2011 Preview
04.27.2011
Rancilio Factory Tour
03.31.2011
Officina Rancilio Museum
03.22.2011
Coffee Tea Expo Day 2
09.27.2010
Coffee Tea Expo Day 1
09.26.2010
Portland 2010
09.14.2010
WRCNBC 2009 Competition
08.31.2009
2008 Australian Barista Championship
06.05.2008
SCAA 2008 Day 3
05.05.2008
SCAA 2008 Day 2
05.04.2008
SCAA 2008 DAy 1
05.03.2008
SCAA 2008 Day 0
05.02.2008
SF Cafe Crawl: Spring 2008
05.01.2008
SCAA 2008 Preview
04.29.2008
Chasing the Geisha
03.05.2008
Let's Talk Coffee
02.21.2008
2007 CNBC
10.14.2007
Canadian Coffee & Tea Show
10.03.2007
WBC Tokyo Day 2
08.01.2007
WBC 2007 Day 1
07.31.2007
WBC 2007 Day 0
07.30.2007
2007 US Barista Competition
05.30.2007
2007 SCAA Personalities
05.14.2007
SCAA LB 2007 Day 3
05.07.2007
SCAA LB 2007 Day 2
05.06.2007
SCAA LB 2007 Day 1
05.05.2007
Midwest Regional Barista Jam
03.20.2007
WBC 2006 Finals
07.24.2006
World of Coffee, WBC Part 1
05.24.2006
Gearing up for the WBC
05.18.2006
Bern and Coffee Culture
05.17.2006
SCAA Charlotte Last Thoughts
04.12.2006
SCAA 2006 Charlotte Final Day
04.10.2006
SCAA 2006 Charlotte Day 2
04.09.2006
SCAA 2006 Day 1 Reports
04.08.2006
SCAA Day 0 Report
04.07.2006
SCAA 2006 - Day -01 Blog
04.06.2006
SCAA 2006 Charlotte Preview
04.02.2006
SERBC Barista Competition
09.19.2005
SCAA 2005 Consumers
05.04.2005
SCAA 2005 Day 2
04.17.2005
SCAA 2005 Day 1
04.16.2005
SCAA Seattle Day 0
04.15.2005
SCAA 2005 Preview
04.07.2005
USBC Day 2 & Semis
03.29.2005
2005 USBC Certification
03.16.2005
Photos: CBC Finals
06.18.2004
Photos - Canadian Coffee Expo
06.11.2004
Photos - Judging
05.10.2004
Photos - USBC
05.05.2004
Photos - Show Floor
04.30.2004
Photos - Personalities
04.29.2004
Photos - Barista Setups
04.28.2004
Day 3 from SCAA
04.26.2004
Day 2: SCAA
04.25.2004
Day 1: SCAA
04.24.2004
Day 0 from SCAA
04.23.2004
CoffeeFest 2003 Seattle
11.14.2003
SCAA Boston Day Three
07.05.2003
SCAA Boston Day 2
04.30.2003
SCAA Day 1
04.27.2003
SCAA 2003 Day 0
04.25.2003
Midwest Baristas, Day 1
03.29.2003
Day Two at the Jam
03.09.2003
NW Barista Jam
02.26.2003
NASCORE 2002 Report
10.13.2002
Last Day, WBC
06.17.2002
Day One, WBC
06.14.2002
SCAA Anaheim Day 3
05.08.2002
SCAA Anaheim Day 2
05.07.2002
SCAA Anaheim PreShow
05.06.2002
 
Interactive
Search
Login Password
forgot pw | signup
quickNav
advertisement
sponsorad
Rancilio Silvia - How to
Step by step guide for easy brewing and steaming with the Rancilio Silvia
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
sponsorad
Stefano's Espresso Care
Repair - Parts - Sales
Factory Authorized &
Trained Technician
www.espressocare.com
sponsorad
Saeco Espresso Machines
Large selection in-stock, includes Free Gifts and Free Shipping!
www.espressozone.com
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.43928694725)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+