For the second year in a row, PT’s at College Hill has been named one of America’s Best Coffee Shops by The Daily Meal. While there are many “Best Of” lists to be had, we are especially proud to place highly here. Curated by some of the best and brightest in our industry, they have… 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.
PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. is 21 years old this year and along the road there have been many changes. With an eye towards the future and an appreciation for the past, we are making changes to our lineup of Signature Blends. While continuing to strengthen old and make new Direct Trade partnerships, we have been redeveloping… Continue Reading
PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. will be closed Wednesday, January 1st in observance of the holiday but we will return on Thursday, ready to take on 2014! In celebration of the New Year, we are offering FREE SHIPPING to all retail customers* who order from our website during the month of January! No promo code required.… Continue Reading
PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. has teamed up with Espro and Williams-Sonoma for an exclusive Artisan Coffee Tasting! This Saturday, November 9th, from noon to 4pm, our baristas will be available in-store, brewing our coffee with the Espro Press at select Williams-Sonoma locations for this special event. We will be featuring our Kenya Ndaroini and El… Continue Reading
Thrillist has named us one of the Top 11 Roasters in the Nation. We are so pleased and honored to be included alongside such great company, especially when the list is curated by such respected individuals within our industry: Bill Walsh (Pure Coffee Blog), Jordan Michelman (Sprudge.com), Brian Jones (Dear Coffee I Love You), Kelly… Continue Reading
The leaves are quickening, the breeze has turned cold, and the days are getting shorter. For us here at PT’s Coffee Roasting Co., that means it’s time to gear up for the holidays. Some of our most anticipated Direct Trade lots will soon be on their way, including coffees from Finca Kilimanjaro, Finca Las Mercedes,… Continue Reading
It’s back to school time and the weather seems to already be thinking about Labor Day. It’s been cloudy and cool here as we mark the end of summer and anticipate the arrival of many new things with the change of season. Over at our cafe, PT’s at College Hill, we’ve been busy greeting the… Continue Reading
When I first met Jeff Taylor on-site at our roasting operations facility I had no idea how much a simple and excited conversation with the man would change my life. Fresh from a summer of travels and language study throughout Italy, my impressions of coffee culture were turned completely on their head as I discovered… Continue Reading
Just as the sun was beginning to rise on Thursday, Winter Storm Q (as the Weather Channel likes to call it) came roaring into town. In the two hours between 6:30am and 8:30am, Topeka received 7 inches of snow and it continued to snow for several more hours, leaving us blanketed under nearly a foot… Continue Reading