The Winner of a Trip to Portland to be a Part of the Compak Golden Bean competition is…

We were thrilled when Sean Edwards ”the genius organizer of the Compak Golden Bean North America ”asked us to help judge essay submissions from baristas hoping to win a trip to Portland, Ore., and a chance to be a part of the grand event, which takes place September 14 “16. We asked baristas from North America and Canada to write a short essay about their passion for coffee and their reasons for aspiring to be a world-class barista.

We reviewed all the entries we received ”and there were a lot of them! ”and determined the winner to be…


Blake Nail, pictured here in April at the 1st International Cold Brew Throwdown, which was held in Atlanta during the SCAA show.
Blake Nail, pictured here in April at the 1st International Cold Brew Throwdown, which was held in Atlanta during the SCAA show.

Blake’s prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to Portland, Ore., to be a part of this unique and beloved roasting competition. Blake will work  in the Golden Bean’s œengine room,  where a team of baristas make drinks to be served to a panel of judges. These baristas play an integral role in the event, as they’re charged with making filter and espresso beverages that maintain the integrity of the competing coffees.

Leading the Engine Room is Pete Licata, 2013 World Barista Champion and creator of coffee-evaluation site  Roast Ratings. As the winner, Blake will  work alongside Pete in a high-profile professional setting. œThe Engine Room is a bit of a marvel of coordination and communication,  says Pete. œThe winner can look forward to seeing how the Engine Room team works, the depths of judging calibration, espresso dial-in, and the sheer number of coffees at the event. It is a little crazy, impressive to behold, and satisfyingly exhausting at the end of the day. 

The Golden Bean originated in Australia: Founder Sean Edwards started the competition more than 10 years ago in conjunction with his coffee magazine,  Café Culture. He brought it stateside to Portland in September 2015, with key sponsorship from international coffee-grinder manufacturer  Compak. Roasters around the country were honored, with Southern California’s  Klatch Coffee  receiving the top prize of Overall Champion Roaster.

In the first Compak Golden Bean North America, 150 roasters around the country submitted 400 entries. Sean says this year’s event will be bigger and better. œWe have had amazing feedback and know this year will be double the size in participants and entries,  he says. œWe had a big challenge coming from a small populated country like Australia and convincing a big market to get involved. I think we achieved this, and all we have to do now is maintain our credibility and the transparency of the competition. 

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