How America's best barista makes a perfect cup of coffee

How America's Best Barista Makes A Perfect Cup Of Coffee

which cup or 1 shot of espresso represents a community which reaches around the entire world.

How America's Best Barista Makes A Perfect Cup Of Coffee

The winner of the 2016 US barista championship, Butler has traced his favorite beverage back to its origins: via the farmers who grow as well as also harvest the coffee to the company which roasts them to the coffee baristas he trains to prepare the coffee at their cafes for the people who drink the idea.

“the idea’s a simple recipe of coffee as well as also water, however the idea’s a recipe which can be done well,” says Butler. “however most often, the idea’s a recipe which can be done very badly.”

How America's Best Barista Makes A Perfect Cup Of Coffee

His goal will be to educate people about their coffee, as well as also to help them make the idea better as well as also enjoy the idea more.

How America's Best Barista Makes A Perfect Cup Of Coffee

“We want to truly hone in on how much time the coffee as well as also the water are sitting together, so we can pull out sweetness, we can pull out brightness,” Butler tells a recent class of baristas learning about espresso fundamentals.

How America's Best Barista Makes A Perfect Cup Of Coffee

Butler will be attending the Specialty Coffee Association’s 2017 US competition in Seattle This kind of weekend, however he’s not competing This kind of year. He has helped train others to compete as well as also will be showcasing his DJ skills at the competition.

A barista’s barista

How America's Best Barista Makes A Perfect Cup Of Coffee

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By day, the country’s best barista trains additional baristas for Counter Culture Coffee’s wholesale clients at the company’s headquarters as well as also roasting facility in Durham, North Carolina. (The company has 11 training centers around the United States, with two more scheduled to open soon.)

Starting off having a tasting of a few coffees, he talks about sourcing, the ratio of ground coffee to water, weighing the coffee as well as also additional factors which go into a Great cup of coffee with his students.

How America's Best Barista Makes A Perfect Cup Of Coffee

“We can pull out the different nuances which make the coffee what the idea will be, which can be truly delicious if we get the recipe right.”

Some baristas attend the introductory as well as also advanced courses before opening their own cafes, while existing clients send brand-new employees to learn the ropes as well as also veterans to get more skills.

Learning via the US barista champion could be an intimidating experience, however company co-founder as well as also president Brett Smith says Butler’s easy personality takes away the stress.

“He has This kind of charisma, as well as also the way he carries himself, to ensure which in no way do you feel like he’s condescending,” Smith says. “On top of which, he’s very skilled in competition however doesn’t flaunt the idea in a way which’s intimidating. He brings you along appropriately.”

While he knows his product well, which will be required, he also incorporates a “laid back as well as also awesome demeanor,” adds Smith.

Becoming a barista without knowing coffee

How America's Best Barista Makes A Perfect Cup Of Coffee

A musician as well as also political science graduate via the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Butler says he didn’t expect to be working in coffee for more than a year.

After a few years of touring with his band as well as also working as a DJ, he applied for a barista job at a coffee shop at UNC without knowing anything about coffee.

When a friend asked him to support him at a regional barista competition in 2004, he went along for the ride. “I was truly big into ‘Iron Chef’ at the time, as well as also when I walked into the center, I saw three stations as well as also espresso machines,” he says.

“There was an emcee, there were people everywhere, people enjoying coffee, as well as also there was This kind of competition which I just had to be a part of,” he says.

When he competed the next year, he placed near the bottom of the rankings. “which made me realize I didn’t truly understand my position as a coffee professional. I wanted to learn as much about being a barista as possible. I started off coming to Counter Culture, taking classes like This kind of one,” which he’s right now teaching.

“I learned a lot about coffee.”

The following year, he won the regional competition. His boss gave him more responsibility over training the staff, as well as also eventually a job opened up at nearby Counter Culture. The company moved him to wholesale customer service 10 years ago.

A champion’s ode to Outkast

Butler's winning drink will be the "SouthernPlayalisticCadillacCoffee."
 - How America's Best Barista Makes A Perfect Cup Of Coffee

Butler won the southeast regional championships a few times before winning the US championship in 2016 in Atlanta, with his Southern-themed signature drink, “SouthernPlayalisticCadillacCoffee.”

A spring-inspired ode to his Southern roots as well as also the 1994 Outkast album, “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik,” which inspired his love of Southern hip-hop, Butler’s drink recipe will be a sublime combination of chilled Finca Nuguo espresso, magnolia flower simple syrup as well as also hibiscus whipped up with nitrous oxide in a whipped cream charger, served in beer snifters brushed with lemongrass.

The lemongrass doesn’t add acidity to the drink, however adds the perception of acidity, to “fool your palate into thinking there’s a beautiful lemon note,” he says.

Butler isn’t simply enjoying the championship ride. right now he’s taking his expertise as well as also helping to train the baristas who could be the next generation of champions.

Butler has been working with Shane Hess, general manager at Jubala Coffee in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, to perfect Hess’ routine within the upcoming competition. (Jubala will be a Counter Culture wholesale client.)

As Butler did before him, Hess has created his own drink, which he will make as part of his 15-minute public presentation at the competition in Seattle. Each competitor has to create three flights of drinks — espresso drinks, milk-based drinks as well as also the signature drink — for the four judges.

The competitors are judged on taste, skill, presentation as well as also even attention to waste.

the idea’s not just his kindness as well as also teaching skills however Butler’s palate, says Hess, which truly makes him stand out.

“Whenever we work together with the coffee, he’s tasting the idea as well as also describing what the idea tastes like,” says Hess. “the idea’s a big part of the competition, being able to accurately describe beverages you are serving the judges.”

What’s trending in coffee

Butler visited Panama's coffee farms to learn more about sourcing. - How America's Best Barista Makes A Perfect Cup Of Coffee

Back at the cafes where many customers are getting their daily fix, most espresso shots will get mixed with milk, hiding some of a roasted coffee’s flavor profile.

however increasingly, customers want to know more, as well as also Butler credits Starbucks with launching the movement.

“A lot of people give Starbucks a bad rap, however Starbucks started off the idea all,” says Butler. “They started off removing which veil of secrecy. They were open about how they were sourcing coffee. They were open about how they were roasting coffee. They were providing a great service as well as also experience for which coffee consumer.”

right now customers are more likely to be interested in where their coffee comes via, as well as also Butler will be happy to provide which information via around the entire world.

“Currently we’re drinking Southern Hemisphere coffee, so coffees via South America, coffees via Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Papua brand-new Guinea,” Butler says.

“As we get into the spring, we’ll start to see those coffees fade away, as well as also we’ll see the Northern Hemisphere coffees arrive — your Central Americans, your Ethiopian coffees. We’ll enjoy those via spring to summer as well as also early fall, as well as also then we’ll see those southern hemisphere coffees return within the fall throughout the winter.”

as well as also the idea’s not just regions which interest customers anymore. The current focus will be on single origin coffees as well as also fair trade practices which benefit farmers, who often don’t even drink the coffee grown on their farms.

Cafes as well as also their customers want to know what the farmers are doing as well as also how they are doing the idea, he says.

“Are we paying these farmers a sustainable cost for their coffee? They want to know,” says Butler. “We’re moving in a direction which’s going to be amazing for coffee farmers to be sustainable as well as also continue producing great coffee.”

Traveling to the source

creating coffee in Brazil for coffee farmers. - How America's Best Barista Makes A Perfect Cup Of Coffee

After his US win as well as also fourth place finish within the entire world Barista Championship in June, Butler got more opportunities to follow coffee to its source.

In July, he went on an Ally Coffee trip to Brazil with the US competition’s additional top baristas, brewers as well as also roasters to make coffee for local farmers who had never tasted the finished product.

Ally built a deck “within the middle of the coffee plants as well as also brought in a roaster as well as also espresso machine,” he says. “We roasted as well as also prepared coffee for the coffee pickers as well as also the farmers. We also had a latte art challenge as well as also the Brazilian farmers judged.”

While farmers as well as also coffee professionals are increasingly sharing information, farmers rarely get to go to the United States as well as also see what Butler as well as also additional coffee professionals do with the coffee.

“A lot of farmers don’t drink their coffee,” he says. “This kind of will be a cash crop, so they’re exporting. Once they export the idea, then they start their harvest all over again, as well as also they’re not tasting what they’re exporting.”

which mean they don’t always know the difference between picking the coffee when the idea’s perfectly ripe versus a little too soon.

“the idea’s truly amazing to see This kind of, as well as also for us to have one on one relationships with farmers,” he says.

In Ethiopia, a mecca for coffee professionals, with more than 2,000 different varieties of coffee, he returned to the essence of coffee flowers in February.

Coffee flowers turn into cherries, not beans, as well as also they don’t all ripen at the same time.

“When I was in Ethiopia, I was standing in a forest, a natural forest, where coffee grows within the wild,” says Butler. “the idea was coffee blossom season, as well as also the idea was so fragrant, the idea was almost overpowering. the idea was beautiful.”

How America's Best Barista Makes A Perfect Cup Of Coffee

The power of coffee as well as also community keeps Butler learning as well as also teaching about his favorite subject.

“We’re always pursuing which perfect cup,” he says.

“I don’t think which perfect cup exists, however as long as we’re striving as well as also setting goals to achieve perfection, everything which happens on the road will be going to be awesome.”

If you go: Counter Culture Coffee has “Tastings at Ten” every Friday morning at 11 locations around the United States. Many training centers also offer home brewing classes.

How America's best barista makes a perfect cup of coffee

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