Brewers Cup competitors trained with national and world champions at the bootcamp last month at Kansas City, Mo.’s Workbench Coffee Labs.
BY ERIC GRIMM
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo courtesy of @heytayphoto
Nine inquisitive and hungry coffee pros made up the first-ever Glitter Cat Brewers Cup cohort, immersing themselves in extraction theory and presentation work at a bootcamp held November 16-18 at Workbench Coffee Labs in Kansas City, Mo. The brewers had access to a stunning library of coffee and brewing devices and slurped their way through the weekend as they took in instruction from an incredible lineup of Brewers Cup superstars in preparation for the 2020 U.S. Coffee Championships season.
Those instructors included the past three U.S. Brewers Cup champions (Kaley Gann, Rose Woodard, and Dylan Siemens), 2017 U.S. Brewers Cup runner-up Chelsey Walker-Watson, world-certified judge Kate Blackman, world-class coach Holly Bastin, multi-time Barista Champion of China Jeremy Zhang, and reigning World Brewers Cup champion Jianing Du. While most boot campers will be first-time competitors, they seized the opportunity to work with their heroes in hopes of emulating them and finding their own voices over Geshas and Reese’s.
The bootcampers balanced high-intensity compulsory workshops with presentation building, all the while taking part in nightly events that fostered community and looked beyond their time as Glitter Cats. Chelsey once again led a GALS (Gender Action Learning System) workshop with a focus on career planning and vision mapping at Monarch Coffee as part of Glitter Cat’s partnership with Atlas Coffee Importers.
On the second night, the campers let loose at Glitter Cat’s most raucous event yet, Brew It Your Way. The public event at Messenger Coffee Company had the cats using potato ricers, jelly shoes, doilies, tortillas, and tennis rackets as brewing devices and filters, with their brewed coffees presented in hollowed-out fruit. A Poursteady round had four competitors dialing in a coffee without letting go of each others’ hands. In the final round, the top brewers guided each other in brewing a single cup of coffee with kaleidoscope glasses, with Glitter Cat Dre Morales and super-volunteer Katherine Gao flawlessly brewing coffee on a Bee House ceramic dripper and presenting it in an avocado shell for the win.
On the final day, any nerves and imposter syndrome were set aside as all nine brewers gave a qualifier-style performance brewing three coffees in 10 minutes. Cats used Hario V60s, AeroPresses, and pastel pink Origami Drippers among other devices as they shared their skills and hopes for their own personal journeys and the industry at large. Performances ranged in competition style from the deeply focused and technically driven to the bright and fabulous. Win, lose, or disqualify, these cats are prepared to represent their identities proudly on stage and inspire other emerging coffee enthusiasts to try their hand at the Brewers Cup competition.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric J. Grimm counts 11 years in the coffee industry in New York City, where he has helped execute over 500 events as the catering manager of Joe Coffee Company and has held his tongue while making 1,000 flat whites. He has written about coffee in popular culture for Sprudge, is a retired theater critic, and once ghost wrote a savage Khloe Kardashian diss in an issue of Us Weekly.