A guest post by Mandy Johnston, Six Degrees Coffee Distribution & Service
Six Degrees Coffee was thrilled to sponsor Chico’s Erica Koenig for the 2013 Western Regional Barista Competition this April. She had the opportunity to work closely with Thanksgiving Coffee Company roaster Jacob Long to develop “The Contender,” an espresso blend featuring coffees from Ethiopia, Sumatra, Guatemala and Peru.
“Being able to blend an espresso to what my ideal shot should taste like while getting the opinion of key players like Amy Louis, Jacob Long & Paul Katzeff was incredible.”
Before the competition, Erica perfected her espresso shots & cappuccinos and developed her signature drink, featuring The Contender, whipped coconut cream, cardamom and her grandmother’s apricot jam made with fruit grown on her family’s farm. Erica’s presentation drew from her farming background to showcase the connection between the land, the coffee, the farmers and the baristas. While she didn’t place, Erica’s presentation scored in the hearts of the judges, audience members and fellow competitors.
“Since the competition, I feel like I have a better sense of what makes the world go ’round, and how we can improve the whole industry. Even being in the same room with Paul gave me a deeper appreciation for everyone who is involved in making that cup of coffee come to fruition. Now I see how the chain needs every one of us to do our best in order to do right by the coffee.” –Erica Koenig