Lem Butler,2016 United States Barista Champion, reflects on his travels, experiences, and unforgettable moments of his reign.
Editor’s note: We asked outgoing United States Barista Champion Lem Butler to share some photos and notes from his year as 2016 USBC Champion, which is just coming to an end. We asked him for 800 words, which he told us was far too few to encapsulate the momentous experience that was his championship year. So he wrote a short letter instead, accompanied by snapshots of some of his favorites memories.
Dear Barista Magazine,
I write to you and your readers as your current U.S. specialty-coffee industry ambassador, and although my term comes to an end this week, I feel I am just getting started on a continuous journey to bring people closer together through coffee. U.S. Barista Champs will come and go, but the work of those dedicated to quality, sustainability, and education will continue on through all those magnificent people we inspire now, tomorrow, and yesterday. I know now what it means to be that ambassador, that “people’s champ”—my life will never be the same again. I see my role in this magnificent play as a small part of a larger collective of coffee professionals all around the world seeking to perfect the coffee experience. From farmer to roaster to barista, we are in this together. I want to thank all your readers for this life-changing opportunity to represent you all for an entire year.
I could spend 800 words on each of my trips around the world, but here is a collection of photos from my year as your most humbled barista.
WBC, DUBLIN, IRELAND
SUMMIT AT SEA
WCE ALL-STARS GUANGZHOU
NEW YORK CITY
Editor’s note: Thank you for being such an amazing, inspirational champion for 2016–2017, Lem! You are so loved by the worldwide specialty-coffee community!