Traverse City's "Team Cuppa Joe" Takes on the Biggest Coffee Competition in the Country

On March 12, 2010, Cuppa Joe, Traverse City’s favorite locally owned coffee shop will be sending, for the first time, one of their baristas to the Olympics of coffee! Cara Nader, barista and manager of Cuppa Joe at Horizon Books will be competing in the 2010 Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition, held this year in Milwaukee, WI. The regional competition is the first step to making it to the United States Barista Championship, held this year in Anaheim, CA and then on to the World Barista Championship, held this year in London.

At the end of September Cara traveled with Cuppa Joe owner Sandi Daley to Seattle for the Millrock Free-Pour Latte Art Championship. After a strong showing in the first round of that competition Cuppa Joe is gearing up for a new, even greater challenge. The United States Barista Championship is the most prestigious of barista competitions in the US. The only way to get in is through a 1-6 placing in regional competition. The competition measures everything a barista does. In 15 minutes Cara must create and serve 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos and 4 signature beverages to four sensory judges while two technical judges and one head judge score everything from waste to appearance. It requires countless hours of training and practice as well as support from the community. Cara has been working with roaster/owner, Jack Davis of Great Northern Roasting Company to develop a custom espresso blend in the hopes of finding that winning edge in Cuppa Joe’s latest endeavor into the world of specialty coffee competition.

“We’ve formed a team! Team Cuppa Joe! We’ve gotten together employees who are interested in competing next year and coffee connoisseurs for practice and are even asking customers to come drink the free practice drinks and be audience members through our Cuppa Joe fan page on Facebook. I definitely couldn’t do this without the support of the community and all of the great Cuppa Joe employees and customers.” – Cara Nader

It’s only the beginning for Team Cuppa Joe in competitions. Next year they hope to send 2-3 baristas to compete who have already started training, working on their signature drinks and memorizing the 34 page United States Barista Championship Rules and Regulations Book.

Cuppa Joe is a Traverse City based business owned by Sandi Daley. In the past 10 years Cuppa Joe has grown to including three stores, each unique in its own way. Cuppa Joe Drive-Thru, The Café at The Village in the Grand Traverse Commons, and their newest location, inside Horizon Books.

For more information please check out http://www.usbaristachampionship.org

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