As of Monday, July 19th you will see some new names added to our blend offerings, while some will seem to disappear. No worries though, fundamentally these coffees aren’t changing…just getting a fresh look and feel. The coffees you have come to know and love will still be available, but here’s a run down of… Continue Reading
This story begins with one very tiny KIA Sportage, five coffee professionals, a cooler full of cold brewed Pacamara Natural, and a trunk packed with specialty coffee from our Colombian Direct Trade partners. Last weekend members of the PT’s crew hit the road heading east with one goal in mind – to share our love for exceptional coffee with the people at CoffeeFest Chicago. The energy of CoffeeFest is vibrant and cheerful and our team was thrilled to compete on Navy Pier for the title of “America’s Best Coffeehouse.”
The America’s Best Coffeehouse competition was developed to determine and acknowledge the top three coffeehouses in North America. Our team represented PT’s at the Crossroads and participated in the Central Region bracket. The competition itself involves completing a 15 minute opening shift, a 30 minute coffee service, and a 15 minute closing shift. Judges keep a close eye on the teams and score them on everything from cleanliness, knowledge of the menu items, team work, and the sensory experience of the products served. Shout out to all six teams who came out and put their hearts into it:
- Muggswigz Coffee & Tea – Canton, OH
- Vint Coffee – Louisville, KY
- The Caffeinery – Muncie, IN
- PT’s at the Crossroads – Kansas City, MO
- Cabin Coffee Co. – Forest City, IA
- Quills Coffee – Louisville, KY
Our team wanted to be sure our menu represented our mission statement: “exceptional coffee, lifelong friendships, and the wisdom to appreciate both.” As a company we take quality very seriously. We are committed to working with coffee farmers who are true artisans of coffee cultivation and practice their craft with dedication, skill, and passion. Our menu offerings were specially crafted to pay homage to our partners at La Palma Y El Tucan, Café Granja La Esperanza, and Finca Villa Loyola. Two of the coffees we featured at the competition arrived at our roasting facility about a week before the competition. It felt very much like Christmas in June.
The Last Teams Standing:
After two grueling days of competition, the list of six teams turned into three finalists. The final rounds were far from easy – each team hustled and gave it their all. There are so many great things to say about all of these teams. In an effort to keep it brief we’ll just cover rankings and the signature drink offered.
- 3rd place went to Vint Coffee (far left in photo). Their speciality drink was the Butchertown Fizz – a refreshing combination of ginger beer, espresso, and lemon.
- 2nd place came home with the team from PT’s at the Crossroads (center in photo). For our signature drink we put a Kansas City spin on a breve cortado. Our single origin espresso from Finca Villa Loyola danced with natural coffee flower honey from Café Granja La Esperanza to create a balanced, complex, and creamy treat.
- 1st Place, and the title of America’s Best Coffeehouse, went to the crew from Quills Coffee (far right in photo). Their signature drink was a super tasty Shakerato – a shaken espresso with an orange blossom simple syrup, garnished with cherry and clementine. Served chilled.
What We Learned:
No man is an island and success is all about teamwork. Being a great café is multi-dimensional – it involves excellence in everything you do. On the list of things you need to excel as a café you’ll find great coffee, great personalities, great music, and great machines. Ultimately it’s teamwork that makes your café experience unforgettable for customers. Teamwork means knowing when and how to help in a way that ensures your customers have a stellar experience every time.
Special Thanks To:
The story wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging all the hard work that went into preparing for this competition. First and foremost, a shout out to the farmers and producers. Seriously, these guys grow some of the finest coffee in the world and we’re honored to work with and learn from them. Second, our team at the roasting facility – the roasters who worked diligently to ensure these coffees were handled with finesse and the front office team who tasted and critiqued them.
Lastly, it’s safe to say the long drive to Chicago would not have been possible without some major coffee love in the city of Saint Louis. Here’s to Sump Coffee, Blueprint Coffee, and The Mudhouse for their generous hospitality and their dedication to exploring and highlighting specialty coffee.
Thank you Chicago for showing the PT’s crew a lovely time. Stay tuned to our blog for more coffee travel updates and origin reports. Until next time, go forth and drink great coffee.
We at PT’s want to offer our hearty congratulations to the new World Barista Champion, Mike Phillips from Intelligentsia in Chicago! Mike is the first American to ever win the event and we are proud of him! The other finalists were Raul Rodas of Guatemala in 2nd place, Scottie Callaghan of Australia in 3rd place,… Continue Reading
Given the announcement yesterday of our change in leadership at PT’s Barrington Village, some of you are probably wondering what’s going on with the previous manager, Robin Seitz. No worries- only good things! Robin has accepted the role of Account Manager for our US accounts west of Kansas City. Starting June 1, 2010, he will… Continue Reading
As of June 1, 2010 there will be a new management regime at PT’s original location, Barrington Village. As the location has grown throughout its 17 years in operation, so has the role of management so we decided that it was time to take a little bit different approach… Three people in three distinct positions.… Continue Reading
On Friday, April 9th we at PT’s hosted a day of education for the Washburn Rural High School’s culinary classes. Starting at 8am we had 3 groups of students come through to tour our roasting facility and see what it is that we do exactly. All together there were about 150 students that got an… Continue Reading
But PT’s Coffee is committed to doing it right. Beginning April 1st, 2010, PT’s Coffee will only roast coffee grown in Kansas! Kansas’ relatively low elevation (mean elevation is 2,000 feet) and temperature swings will limit the annual production to just over 1 pound, but we understand that doing things right requires sacrifices. Our new… Continue Reading
For those who are not already familiar with Keurig, it is the latest in single cup brewing technology for home use. It delivers a cup of coffee in less than a minute, using pods called “K-cups” that hold a pre-dosed amount of ground coffee. While they have selections from a handful of roasters on their… Continue Reading
In order to become a good barista one has to dedicate a lot of time to refining their movements and paying attention to all of the little things that go into a great shot of espresso. But, to truly go beyond that, to become a great… Continue Reading
Last weekend in Portland, Oregon baristas from around the country gathered to battle for the title of United States Barista Champion. Among them were PT’s own Robin Seitz and Chris Weber. Chris had to start in the preliminary round, which consisted of 51 baristas vying for one of 15 spots. He had a great run… Continue Reading