Trevor Corlett of Madcap Coffee in Washington, DC has won the Eastern Conference at the 2016 US Coffee Championships Qualifying Event. This is Trevor Corlett’s first divisional win at the newly reformatted event—indeed, it’s the first time *anyone* has won the brand new Eastern Conference in the American barista competition tournament, making Corlett the first-ever US Barista Championship Eastern Conference Champion.

Mr. Corlett is one of the most experienced and influential baristas in the American competition circuit. His competition career began in 2008, competing for Madcap in the no-longer-extant Great Lakes Region. In his astonishing nine consecutive seasons competing here in the United States, Corlett has earned a a 4th place finish at the national tournament in 2011, two consecutive third place finishes at the national tournament in 2013 and 2014, and a remarkable 5 consecutive US Barista Championship semi-finals appearances. The 2016 US Barista Championship Qualifying Event—Eastern Conference–is Trevor Corlett’s first career barista competition win.


As one of the founders of Madcap Coffee, Corlett’s routine featured a selection from the brand’s 2015 Colombia Tasting Series, a tribute to 8 different products from various micro-regions across Colombia, personally selected by Corlett and fellow Madcap founder & green coffee buyer Ryan Knapp. That coffee, from producer Amparo Botina, hails from Colombia’s Narino region, and as espresso yielded notes of “cinnamon and black cherry, with a complex, big sweetness.” For his milk course, Corlett took advantage of some new competition rules allowing for variation in drink size, serving his judges 90ml macchiatos with notes of “gingerbread and ovaltine.”

As a signature drink, Amparo Botina’s coffee met Fee Brother’s Cherry Bitters, homemade sweetened condensed milk, and just a dash of a small batch grenadine syrup, served in a coupe glass infused with cinnamon and cherry smoke. A frozen strawberry garnish rounded out the craft cocktail inspired beverage, whose flavor notes included “strawberry cheesecake” and “toffee.”


While verifying Mr. Corlett’s competition history via email for this feature, we asked him if he had any hot shout outs to share as part of the article. We’ll let him take it away:

9 years of competing would not have been possible without the unwavering patience of my wife, allowing me to carve out a little time to pursue this year after year. My daughters, who are a huge motivator for me to never give up. Ryan Knapp for buying great coffee, Colin Whitcomb for giving me honest feedback on my crazy comp ideas, and the whole Madcap team for their constant encouragement and support. It really does take an army.” —Trevor Corlett.


Trevor Corlett earns a first-round bye at the upcoming US Barista Championship tournament this April in Atlanta, as well as airfare and accommodations at that event. But he’s not the only competitor whose fate is now set to appear in Atlanta. Five more competitors have advanced to the national tournament by placing in the top six of the Eastern Conference. Let’s meet all six.

1. Trevor Corlett, Madcap Coffee, Washington, DC

2. Samuel Lewontin, Everyman Espresso, New York, NY

3. Ashley Elander, Intelligentsia, Chicago, IL

4. Andrew B. McCaslin, Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Co, St. Louis, MO

5. Lemuel Butler, Verity Resins, Forest City, NC

6. Trevor Gruehn, Bradbury’s Coffee, Madison, WI


From left: Trevor Gruehn, Andrew McCaslin, Lemuel Butler, Trevor Corlett, Ashley Elander, and Samuel Lewontin.

We covered all the action at the 2016 US Coffee Championships live on Twitter at @SprudgeLive and at SprudgeLive.com, our sister site dedicated to coffee competitions. All our coffee competition coverage in 2016—conference, national and international—is produced in partnership with our sponsors at Urnex Brands. We’ll be back with more coverage throughout the 2016 season, but for now, relive all of the USBC Qualifying Event—every routine, every competitor—over at SprudgeLive.com.

Sprudge Media Network’s US Coffee Championships coverage features original photography from Charlie Burt and Elizabeth Chai. Our producer is Zac Cadwalader

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