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Seattle, WA— The winners of the first-ever “Stirling Signature Beverage Open”, which occurred at the Las Vegas Convention Center, June 3-5, were Anna Gutierrez of Dillanos Coffee Roasters in Puyallup, Washington, who took the $500 prize for “Best-Tasting Beverage” and Jim Saborio of Café Zola in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who won $500 for “Most Creative Beverage”. The competition, which will occur at all Coffee Fests, is intended to be a free-form, fun event that shines a spotlight on quality and creativity in beverage making.
| Anna Gutierrez poses with Eric Bass at SSBO in Vegas |
Anna Gutierrez wowed the judges with her “Anna Banana’s Famous Flaming Fosters”, a delicious blended beverage including espresso, bananas, cinnamon, brown sugar, Stirling Jamaican Rum, Stirling Going Bananas, Stirling Crème Brulèe, Appleton rum, Crème de Banana, ice and cream. "With seven years’ experience in the specialty coffee industry, I always have had a great time creating drinks with different syrups. When trying to think of a drink for the Stirling Signature Beverage Open, I wanted to be creative with a dessert that I love,” Gutierrez says. “There were three things that I knew were a must: Awesome syrups, smooth Dillanos coffee, and, of course, fire!"
Jim Saborio took the cake for creativity with his “Mokha Cassis”, which included his own home-roasted espresso, milk, crème de cassis, cinnamon and Poblano chile. “Whenever I develop a drink for the café, I try to use ingredients that we already have in-house. Even the Poblanos are ordered regularly and roasted for filling our southwestern omelets. That makes the drink a part of the café and unique to it,” Saborio explains. “We have a full espresso bar right alongside our liquor shelves at Café Zola, which makes it fun to play with different combinations. We have never used flavored vodkas, however. The syrups are truer to taste than even the so-called super-premium liquors.”
Judges for the Vegas competition were 2003 US Barista Champion Heather Perry of Coffee Klatch in San Dimas, California, who brings a clear understanding of the importance of creativity in beverage retailing as well as first-hand experience as a barista competitor to her position, and Jeffrey Greiner, vice president and research and development specialist for Stirling Gourmet Flavors, who also possesses a culinary background. Equipment for the competition, including a two-group espresso machine and grinder, was provided by Astoria. The blender was provided by Blendtec.
Stirling Gourmet Flavors is known around the world as an innovative, customer-service oriented syrup manufacturer. The full line of Stirling’s products includes more than fifty flavors of high-quality cane-sugar syrups and nearly twenty 6.3-oz. gift size syrups as well as 14 sugar-free syrups made with Splenda®. Stirling also offers mocha mixes, display items and more. Stirling gourmet flavorings are extremely versatile and are used in coffee beverages, Italian sodas and iced beverages, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages, baking, and culinary arts.
Coffee Fest is dedicated to the growth and proliferation of the specialty coffee, gourmet tea and alternative beverage industries. Coffee Fest’s remaining 2005 show is Coffee Fest Seattle, happening October 28-30, at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center. More information on participating in the next “Stirling Signature Beverage Open” can be obtained at www.coffeefest.com or by calling 425.283.5058.