USBC 2015: The L.A. Engine That Could & a Fab Five


This year, steaming into the port town of Long Beach, dozens of baristas, with as many goals of claiming the berth of Champion, filed their way into the Specialty Coffee Championships at Long Beach Arena with coffees from around the nation. Pairing their ideas with philosophy, intention, schools of thought and process, they took a stage and preached their truths for fifteen minutes over three drinks.

Los Angeles’ own, Charles Babinski of Go Get Em Tiger was among them, heralding the idea of service, real-life scenarios from owning a bar and real-time ideas of efficiency at scale despite small shop parameters. It was inspiring and an idea among many delivered with impassioned belief. A salute to our champ and the other five engines that roared in our hearts.

Now, a resounding quote paired with their set lists as I was able to hear and document it.



Charles Babinski

Go Get Em Tiger

“ Coffee thrives on large scale systems.”

1. ‘Magestic,’


2. ‘Be Your Girl,’ Teedra Moses


Cole McBride

PublicUS LV

“Coffees like this allow us to bring more people into the specialty coffee universe.”

1. ‘I Won’t Let You Down,’ Ok Go

2. ‘She Drives Me Crazy,” FYC

3. ‘Turn Up The Radio,’ Ok Go

4. ‘Let You Go,’ Oscar James


Sam Schroeder

Olympia Coffee

“The café community is not complete without the consumer.”

1. ‘Xxx88,’ Mo

2. ‘Lily The Kid,’ Pedro

3. Pulsing, Tomas Bofard

4. ‘Glow,’ Retro Stefson


Sam Lewontin

Everyman Espresso

“I want this drink to be simple and accessible.”

1. ‘First Fires,’ Bonobo

2.‘Black Sands,’ Bonobo


Dev Champan

Verve Coffee

 “One element can be a catalyst.”

1.‘Never Meant,’ American Football

2.‘Warm Water,’ Her Name is Banks

3.‘Minnesota,’ Bon Iver

4.‘Time is Dancing,’ Ben Howard


Michael Harwood

Ceremony Coffee

“Every coffee has an ideal context.”

1.‘We Could Live Forever,’ Bonobo

2. ‘Cirrus,’ Bonobo

3. ‘Sill Life,’ The Horrors

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