Well here it is, you guys – the third installment of the PT’s Challenge. For those of you unfamiliar with the challenge, check out the original blog post by clicking here. Let’s get down to business and explore this week’s featured coffee, brew method, and the winning recipe! Featured Coffee: Sidama Guji Our Sidama Guji started its… 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.
One by one, the names of eight fierce competitors filled the vacant spots on the PT’s Challenge bracket. Competitors spent time getting to know the featured coffee and brew method. The outcome of this hard work: one kick-ass cup of coffee and a new champion. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty: this week’s… Continue Reading
We have a winner! The first PT’s Challenge went down this week at our roasting facility and we’re proud to announce Lara Prahm as champion. Featured Coffee: Palo Alto. Our featured coffee this week comes from Finca El Socorro in Guatemala. Owner Juan Diego de la Cerda goes above and beyond to consistently produce high quality… Continue Reading
Who’s ready to kick off summer with some iced coffee? We know summer doesn’t technically start until June 21st, but we’re already getting our sunscreen and tank tops out here at PT’s! To celebrate the return of warm, sunny weather we challenge you to take a photo showcasing your favorite summertime activity with PT’s coffee or gear.… Continue Reading
The winner of our second run of submissions to the PT’s Artist Series is Skye T. Steen! Skye, who lives in Durban, South Africa found out about our contest through Twitter and sent in her winning design with the description, “A hare – elegantly sipping on a cup of coffee. A rabbit is seen as… Continue Reading
We are revamping our Signature Blend Lineup. One of the changes we are making is renaming our B-Ville blend to 1861. The blend itself is remaining the same and you will not notice any difference in your brew. Once known as our Coffeehouse Blend, it was renamed in honor of our first cafe and of our… Continue Reading
We are opening a new store! To celebrate our expansion into the fantastic coffee culture of KCMO, we are holding another hashtag contest. Simply tweet us @PTsCoffee a photo featuring our coffee, logo, or merchandise with the hashtag #PTsCrossroads and you will be entered to win a free 12oz bag of our new Payacal (as… Continue Reading
Hello Velo Photo Contest To welcome back our limited edition Velo blend, we’ll be giving away a 12oz bag of this delicious coffee to one lucky Twitter follower! Simply tweet us (@PTsCoffee) a photo featuring our coffee, logo, or merchandise with the hashtag #HelloVelo and you will be entered to win. You have until Thursday,… Continue Reading