If you know anything about Klatch, you know that we play to win. Klatch has been competing on the world stage of coffee since 1993 and we’ve got the awards to show it. But it’s not just about winning for us: the pursuit of great coffee, and how we’ve celebrated as a family, is the ultimate reward.
The Golden Bean, the US/World Barista Championships, and Coffee Review are heralded in the coffee world.
The Golden Bean is the World’s Largest Coffee Roasting Competition.
The title of Barista Champion in the United States Barista Championships (USBC) and the World Barista Championship (WBC) are two of the highest awards baristas can achieve.
And if you want to know how a coffee stacks up to its competition, you read Coffee Review, the world’s leading coffee guide.
Rather than get into the details of what each competition entails (you can read more at the links above), we talked with Klatch CEO and Barista Champion Heather Perry about what each of these competitions means to Klatch Coffee specifically—what’s the story? What are some of the joys and challenges of competing?
"What’s interesting about all of these competitions is that because we are a family business, they all come with family stories. For instance, with the US Barista Championships (USBC), a fun memory from the first USBC was the drink that I used to win that year.
My mom and I were at a farmer’s market in Santa Monica and I found a lemon verbena plant, and I loved the smell. I told my mom I was going to make a drink with it, and she said no, that won’t be good.
If you know me, you know that if you tell me it’s never going to work—I’m going to make it work. And that was the birth of the Naked Verbena and my first USBC win! We still serve that drink every summer at our stores.
photo of the Naked Verbena, available at Klatch stores July 1st-July 10th
That year, the US also hosted the World Barista Championships (WBC), and [with the timing], I had to go compete in the WBC the day after winning the USBC. So it was intense and interesting, but overall, a great experience—and I got Top 10!
photo of Heather’s 2003 USBC win
At every barista competition, my family’s been with me, which is amazing. For example, in Tokyo—when I took second in the WBC—my now husband carried my grinder on and off the plane, in and out of overhead bins. I was not going to check it!
In 2007, Heather took home second in the WBC (World Barista Championships), the highest finish ever for a woman and for an American
When it comes to the Golden Bean, the first year that we competed, my dad initially didn’t go to the competition and then decided at the last minute to go up. Totally separate from that, I was very pregnant with my daughter at the time. So my parents are driving back from a little vacation in order for my dad to fly up, when I call to say I’m having a baby, and I had that baby fast!
My parents came to the hospital, got to meet [baby] Peary, and then my dad took off to Portland, where he won his first Golden Bean! We always know when it is because it’s my daughter’s birthday. It’s really meaningful to have those go together.
Photo of Mike and Cindy with Heather’s daughter, Peary, named in honor of Mike’s last name, Perry
Photo of roastmaster Mike with Golden Bean trophies
With all competitions, the reason that we compete is to constantly challenge ourselves. How can we do better? How can we make better coffee? And Coffee Review is a way for us to constantly challenge ourselves. We were the first to break the barrier with a high-scoring espresso, and we want to continue to improve on that.
Competition, for us, is a way to live out the Klatch core concept that coffee is never finished."
Our rich, syrupy-sweet chocolate WBC espresso blend has been a competition winner time and time again. In 2003, this five bean blend of renowned Indonesian and American coffees assisted in Heather’s U.S. Barista Championship win.
Photo of Roastmaster Mike cupping with some of the grandkids
From left to right: Heather, Cindy, Mike, and Holly