We've been lucky to work with two competitors this year who will be in the mix. Keep an eye out for Calen Robinette of Voltage coffee and Brandon Duff of RBCNYC. Both have high expectations of executing the routines they've been polishing for the NERBC stage.
Calen is doing a coffee cherry theme around fresh crop (literally weeks off the patio) Hacienda Santa Rosa's Buena Esperanza Alfaro. After meeting the owner, Gustavo Alfaro, Calen made Esperanza his coffees of choice. The espresso is a pairing of a rare Mundo Nuevo lot and a seperately grown Tekisik lot. Both are grown at 1800m which makes the Mundo Nuevo turn out as a bit of an over achiever given common expectations for this varietal based on cuppings of lower elevation plantings. Both coffees are also stellar picks, as Edwin Martinez puts it 'unusually ripe and even cherry'. The same patio day of Mundo Nuevo for Calen was pulped and the remaining fruit was prepped as Cascara.  The freshness and extreme ripeness of the cascara made for a suprisingly pleasant tasting whereas many we've tried have been quite dissappointing (especially in comparison) Calen also plans to use some of Gustavo's coffee flower honey as well in his signature drink.
Brandon is planning on using our Soma espresso, a pairing of two Guatemalan coffees with a Kenya. The Guatemalan coffees are Las Rosas (Huehuetenango) and Miriam de Villanueva's El Bosque (right outside of Antigua) while the Kenya is our Othaya. Brandon bar tends on the side and his approach for sig drink will be that of a cocktail. Current secret version looks tight and brings a clever approach to sig drinks that will be fun and tasty.Brandon placed in the finals last year so keep an eye on him and his trajectory in the competitions.