US Brewer’s Cup – 2nd Place

SEATTLE, WA, April 25, 2017– On Sunday, April 23, Chelsey Walker-Watson of Seattle’s Slate Coffee Roasters won 2nd place in the US Brewer’s Cup Championship.

Created in 2011, the US Brewer’s Cup Championship is a competition created by the Specialty Coffee Association that “highlights and celebrates the art of manual brewing,” by placing coffee professionals from around the nation in tournament with one another to brew exceptional coffee. Contestants are graded by judges on their knowledge, skill, professionalism, and ultimately on the quality of their coffee. Walker-Watson is one of three owners of the Seattle-based Slate Coffee Roasters with her brother, Keenan, and her mother, Lisanne.

Walker-Watson is no stranger to competition, having placed in America’s Best Espresso twice in 2015 and 2017 respectively and participating in several competitions throughout the years. With the help of her coach, Angelique Rosario, Walker-Watson has been preparing for US Brewer’s Cup since January 2017 after selecting a rare Yemeni coffee from exporter Port of Mokha to use. Her selection of this coffee was not just because of its notable quality, but also, it’s story.  The coffee was expertly roasted by Keenan, Slate’s Green Buyer and Head Roaster.

In 2016, Walker-Watson met Mokhtar Alkanshali at a coffee cupping in Seattle. It was here they begin to speak about coffee, community, and Mokhtar’s stranger-than-fiction journey helping Yemeni coffee farmers cultivate the best possible coffee and transport it out of the country amid civil war.  A limited amount of Port of Mokha coffee roasted by Slate will be available for sale on Slate Coffee’s website starting Tuesday, May 2nd and will be available while quantities last.

Winning 2nd in the US Brewer’s Cup is an achievement for our entire team at Slate and serves as a culmination of our efforts in sourcing, roasting and training.  With my performance and choice of coffee, I intended to emphasize the power of relationships in coffee and to celebrate the efforts of coffee interventionist Mokhtar Alkhanshali in the historic origin of Yemen.” –  Chelsey Walker-Watson
At Slate, we seek to elevate coffee culture in the Seattle community, and we source and roast coffee and prepare it with care to emphasize what makes each coffee, and the farmers that produced it, unique.  National recognition of our sourcing, roasting and brewing practices reinforce our efforts and prepare us to continue to build upon our relationships.
 – Chelsey Walker-Watson

Rwanda Musasa

Harvested between March and June, this bourbon coffee is sourced from a collective of family owned farms located near the Musasa mill in the Gakenke District of Rwanda. Grown between 1,500 – 2,000 feet on volcanic loam soil, this coffee is fully washed and then dried in raised beds. Sweet flavors of earl grey tea, bosc pear and brown sugar make for a delicious and smooth cup.

In 2000, the Dakunda Kawa Cooperative was formed, with enough funds to build their first wet mill. They have since built another three wet mills and one dry mill. The quality of this coffee has been recognized  world wide, consistently placing as one of the best in the Cup of the Excellence annual auction.

Multiple sustainability-minded organizations, including Thanksgiving Coffee Company, have supported the Cooperative’s efforts to elevate living standards by investing in livestock, better access to healthcare and environmental protection programs. The project “Responding to Climate Change: Building Community-Based Reliance” was awarded the 2012 Sustainability Award from The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA)

To purchase this coffee click here

Burundi Gacokwe

Burundi is a small landlocked country nestled in the heart of Africa, just south of Rwanda. Grown at high altitude from March to July, Gacokwe is a fully washed Bourbon that yields an herbaceous, unique cup with an equally complex history and processing method. You can look forward to notes of tangerine, key lime and jasmine.

Traditionally, coffee in Burundi is depulped and “dry fermented” for up to 12 hours and then fully washed in a bath of clean mountain water for 12 to 24 hours. The seeds then float down water channels and are separated by density. Finally, they are soaked for an additional 12 to 18 hours before drying in parchment on raised beds.

Burundi has a long history of conflict, which has greatly influenced coffee production. Originally, coffee farming was controlled by the Belgians until Burundi gained independence in 1962. Although coffee production became private after that, farmers were not interested in growing coffee, seeing it as a symbol of colonization.

Production saw a huge decrease until 1976 when the industry became state-controlled. After failed attempts to increase and improve coffee production, Burundi finally re-privatized in 2009 and has stayed private ever since. Coffee has been a critical element in helping rebuild Burundi since their civil war in the late 20th century.

Rango, located in the Kayanza province, is the town where Gacokwe comes from. Café Imports, one of the first companies to invest in creating a market for specialty Burundian coffee, ensures that a quality premium is paid above the normal “market rate” and that this premium is paid directly to the farmers.

To purchase this coffee, click here.