Some of the best coffee brewers and baristas in the country are right here in Denver.
Look no further than Novo coffee; two of the Colorado coffee maker’s employees are headed to a national competition to determine who makes the best coffee in the United States.
Josh Taves and Erich Rosenberg will be competing in the U.S. Coffee Championships in late April in Seattle. The U.S. Coffee Championship basically determines the best cup of coffee in the United States. The winners then go on to compete internationally against 60 other countries.
Taves is competing in the barista competition and Rosenberg is competing in the brewers cup. They’ve both competed nationally before, and to them, it’s way more than just a cup of coffee -- it’s a way of life.
Taves says the preparation for the championship starts several months ahead of time.
“The coffee has to have synergy and that can mean a lot of things," Taves said. "The flavor profile, a similar storyline, a myriad of different things and it can be what synergy means to you."
Taves says he didn’t do well in chemistry in school, but when he can taste chemistry, it makes sense to him.
“I don’t really care about hydrochloric acid or how to make it or stuff like that, but when you talk about flavor chemistry, that’s super interesting to me,” Taves said.
Taves says the barista competition is a good catalyst for learning and at the very least, it’s an opportunity to push yourself and learn more about the craft.
Rosenberg compares preparation for the brewer’s cup to a gymnastics routine; he says it’s all about rhythm and it helps to focus on yourself rather than what you’re doing.
He practices through repetition, because in the brewers competition he has to do the same thing several times in a row in a short amount of time.
"Coffee to me is the center of a community," Rosenberg said. "So coffee is somewhere I would go to talk to people even if I’m not working. It’s just a love what you do, do what you love kind of thing.”
Novo coffee has three locations in Denver. The U.S. Coffee Championships is part of the Specialty Coffee Symposium in Seattle on April 20. The top winners at the U.S. Championships will go onto an international competition in Budapest.