Intelligentsia Wins US Brewer’s Cup

This past weekend, Intelligentsia barista Sarah Anderson won the 2015 US Brewers Cup. Sarah is a senior barista at our Pasadena location in California and won the South West Regional back in October. It’s the first time Intelligentsia has won this competition, and the first time it’s been won by a female competitor.

Sarah’s brew method was very simple. It was essentially a cupping technique, but after steeping the grounds in hot water for 5 minutes, she decanted the whole thing through a V60 filter, cleaning up the mouthfeel of the brew, and enabling great articulation of flavor.


This technique mitigated the risk of variance in pouring hot water over the grounds, and allowed Sarah to focus on her dialogue – telling the story of a Geisha grown at the highest coffee farm in the world. Her coffee was a blend of roasts: a base roast by our Head Roaster in Chicago Alex Burbo, which was then topped off with a selection of sample roasts done by Head Roaster in LA, Sam Sabori in Los Angeles, each bringing out different aspects of the coffee.

The coffee was ground on a Mahlkoenig EK43 and then sieved to different particle sizes and carefully blended together to achieve greater control in the extraction. Her water was prepared to 140ppm at our Pasadena location using the Reverse Osmosis system installed in the store. By doing all this, Sarah was able to mitigate many of the variables that preparing the coffee on-stage might have presented.


“Winning the United States Brewers Cup is a celebration of the coffee and those who put their touch on it. It is a celebration of producers Mariana and Carlos Iturralde at Takesi who grew an outstanding coffee in an extreme location. It is an acknowledgment of Ben Morse and James McLaughlin’s wise choice to buy this deliciously high-scoring coffee. It is a nod to the craft of roasting demonstrated by Alex Burbo and Sam Sabori. It is a culmination of my training as a barista to master the skills necessary to prepare this coffee and present it to a judging panel. It is the polishing of my competition team that made my routine (and glassware) shine. It is all fueled by Intelligentsia, a company that promotes quality above all else and gives its employees the training and skills necessary to execute deliciousness. ” – Sarah Anderson

We couldn’t be prouder of Sarah, and can’t wait to support her as she prepares for the World Brewers Cup championship taking place in Gothenberg, Sweden this June. Stay tuned for updates on her training and her choice of coffee!

Intelligentsia Wins at the Southwest Coffee Championships

The Big Western coffee competitions wrapped up on Friday and we are extremely proud of our Pasadena shift lead, Sarah Anderson, who won first place in the Southwest Brewers Cup as well as Silverlake manager, Eden-Marie Abramowicz, who took second place in the Barista Competition by just two and a half points.



Eden’s routine used our Limited Edition Reko from Ethiopia, and focused on the language we use to communicate what quality means throughout the supply chain. Her narrative focused on how her daily concerns differed from those of her roaster, Sam, and those of her green buyer, Geoff. Her signature drink involved a base of citric and tartaric acid diluted with some water and honey, a shot of Reko and then an aromatic air (foam), made with King Crimson tea.

Sarah’s win brings the Brewers Cup title back to Intelligentsia, and back to our Pasadena coffeebar, this is the second time the store has produced a regional champion. She now qualifies for the Brewers Cup semi-finals, held this February in Long Beach. You can watch her routine and see her brew recipe here. Eden also now qualifies directly to semi-finals of the barista competition, skipping the quarter finals round reserved for 3rd through 6th place competitors. You can watch her routine here.


Also present at the competition this year were LA wholesale educator Julie Housh and Pasadena educator Casey Soloria. Julie was there in her role as chair of the Barista Guild of America and Casey was there representing Intelligentsia as a sensory judge in the barista competition – both were very helpful in supporting Sarah and Eden. Also there in support were Bailey Manson and Kevin Tabor, retail educators for Venice and Silverlake respectively.


There were many past regional champions participating in this season’s competition, making it one of the most competitive regionals in the country. Eden and Sarah’s success is a fantastic testament to the quality of our coffees, our training and our staff in general. Thanks so much to everyone who supported them, and to Sarah and Eden for representing us so well.