Winners from The Barista League, the United States Coffee Competitions, and the World Barista Championship gather in Colombia for the 2018 Ally Coffee Origin Trip!
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photo courtesy of Ally Coffee
In 2016, Ally Coffee announced that it would sponsor trips to origin for winners and runners-up of the U.S. Barista, Brewers Cup, and Roaster championships. (Ally would later add the winner and runner-up to the Cup Tasters championships as well). For two years, Ally has taken the group, sometimes adding up to over 25 folks including staff and sponsors, to different parts of Brazil. But this year, the group is traveling to Colombia from September 29 to October 6.
“Ally Coffee’s 2018 Champ Trip to origin invites the coffee champs to Colombia for the first time, after traveling to Brazil for the past two years,” shares Rachel Northrop, communications manager for Ally Coffee. “This year’s trip will still include farm-level visits in several regions and opportunities to connect directly with producers (at Aromas del Sur, Hacienda El Obraje, and La Palma y El Tucan), but it also offers the champs a broad, comprehensive look at the whole coffee industry—from production through consumption—in one of the world’s major producing countries.”
The trip is meant to be holistic, and provide a deeper understanding of the Colombian coffee scene from seed to cup. “The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), Juan Valdez, and Yara Colombia are all hosting the champs at different venues, and the group will attend Expo Especiales to meet Colombia’s national coffee champions, bringing the trip full circle from smallholder production, through national organizations, and back to the competition stage,” Rachel notes. “The experience of traveling together also builds lasting friendships among coffee professionals, which is something special we look forward to every year.”
Ally continues to sponsor these trips partially because they’re fans of competition and partially to educate baristas on the struggles and challenges that go into the coffees they present to judges during competition. “I’m a big fan of competitions—not just Barista and Brewers—but Cup Tasters and Roasting,” shares Ricardo Pereira, director of specialty coffee for Ally and the force behind this new sponsorship. “You bring the baristas and competitors to the front lines … and it’s a bridge between competitors and farmers.”
Here’s a list of just some of the folks heading over to Colombia with the trip:
Steve Moloney, The Barista League
Cassie Ash, The Barista League USA winner
Angela Ferrara, The Barista League USA winner
Agnieszka Rojewska, WBC winner
Cole McBride, USBC winner
T. Ben Fischer, USBC runner-up
Evan Schubarth, U.S. Roasters competition runner-up
Mark Michaelson, U.S. Roasters competition third-place winner
Becca Woodard, U.S. Brewers Cup champion
Justin Goodhart, U.S. Brewers Cup runner-up
Ken Selby, U.S. Cup Tasters champion
Zayne Dietterick, U.S. Cup Tasters runner-up
Ally staff including, Nora Smalehova; James Tooill; Ricardo Pereira; Bruno Borges; Sarah Frinak
Barista Magazine will also be tagging along, so be sure to check out our Instagram page to follow along with the trip!