After a big win at second annual Golden Bean in September, Klatch came back from Coffeefest Anaheim with not just one, but two champion titles.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
If you follow coffee competitions, Klatch Coffee out of Rancho Cucamonga, California is a name you should be familiar with. To call them a powerhouse understates just how dominant they have been in the coffee competition spotlight for years: from Heather Perry’s 2003 and 2007 United States Barista Championship titles to Todd Goldsworthy’s back-to-back U.S. Brewers Cup Champion wins this year and the year prior, Klatch Coffee has produced an astonishing number of champion baristas and brewers.
However, none of these champions could have gotten anywhere without their coffee, and Klatch was recently recognized for their coffees at this year’s Coffeefest in Anaheim, Calif. taking home the title of America’s Best Espresso and America’s Best Cold Brew. Coming off a big victory at the second annual Golden Bean North America just weeks ago, Klatch continues collect medals and accolades.
Unlike the Golden Bean, where a panel of judges taste dozens of coffees to name winners in a number of categories, the competitions at Coffeefest work in a bracket-style format, where coffee companies battle head-to-head to move on to the next round. For the espresso competition, Klatch tweaked the blend they made for Golden Bean and used a mix of natural and honey processed coffees from the Elida Estate in Panama (which has received praise in its own right at the Best of Panama competition). Klatch beat out a number of prestigious roasters, and ended up facing a roaster with a similar espresso blend, using the naturally processed coffee from the same farm.
This wasn’t the only happenstance of the competition. œBy chance again, Wilford Lamastus of Elida Estate was in Japan for the SCAJ [Specialty Coffee Association of Japan] and Barista Competition where the winner used his coffee, so on the way back to Panama he had a layover and was able to stop at our store in San Dimas and spend an hour with us drinking his coffee and celebrating, says Michael Perry, CEO and Green Buyer for Klatch.
As exciting as the espresso competition was, the real show stealer was the cold brew competition, a new edition to the competition line-up at Coffeefest. œThis competition was exciting because cold brew really has exploded this year and every roaster wanted to be part of it from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf to local guys like Martin Diedrich of Kean Coffee in Newport Beach, shared Mike. Like the espresso competition, entrants also competed head-to-head, but the final round placed the four finalists against each other in a popular vote, with attendees deciding on which coffee they liked best. œThis competition was fun for the public because unlike America’s Best Espresso where only professional judges get to taste, here the public gets to taste and vote.
There’s no equivalent of a grand slam or a perfect game in coffee, but perhaps a sweep in the major coffee competitions could be regarded as the pinnacle of coffee excellence. œWinning both America’s Best Espresso and America’s Best Cold Brew is a monumental accomplishment that I wouldn’t expect we will see repeated for many years to come, shared Coffee Fest Show Manager David Heilbrunn. These wins were neither easy nor a coincidence, but rather emblematic of the hard work and dedication needed to produce a quality product. The blend chosen for the espresso competition came about œafter drinking 20-30 shots of espresso every day for a week, according to Mike, and the coffees themselves aren’t microlots that are unattainable to most consumers. In fact, Klatch has the blend that won America’s Best Espresso available for purchase on their website, along with the coffee they used for the Golden Bean competition so you can compare the two side-by-side. You can also read more about Klatch and their wrap-up of Coffeefest at their website at klatchroasting.com.