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The Commonplace Coffeehouse and Roastery team will travel to New York City to compete in a regional competition for the title of America’s Best Coffeehouse March 7-9.
The Commonplace will compete with five other coffeehouses for an America’s Best Coffeehouse national championship spot in Portland.
These winners, including Green Nature Coffee House in New York City, Thinking Cup in Boston, Cafe Grumpy in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mudhouse Coffee Roaster in Charlottesville, Va., and Muggswigz Coffee & Tea in Canton, Ohio, were chosen based on fan voting and the reviews of a “secret shopper” from the Coffee Fest organization, according to the America’s Best Coffeehouse website.
“The competitor that makes us stand up the straightest is Cafe Grumpy from New York,” The Commonplace owner T.J. Fairchild said. “We’ve loved and respected them for a long time.”
Winning the regional title comes with a prize of $2,500, and the national title carries a $10,000 reward.
This is the first year that The Commonplace has been involved in the Coffee Fest’s annual competition.
In addition to Best Coffeehouse, Coffee Fest also holds competitions for Latte Art and Best Espresso.
At the New York competition, The Commonplace team will have 15 minutes to set up, 15 minutes to tear down and a half hour of regular coffeehouse operation, according to the Coffee Fest website.
The team – consisting of a bar-back, a barista and a person taking orders – will be judged on aptitude, friendliness, teamwork and drink quality.
“It’s not just ‘Here’s a drink, what do you think about it?’” The Commonplace manager Allyson Whitacre said. “It’s about functioning as a whole and how well we can do that, too.”
The Commonplace will also have to make sure that all drinks weigh under 8 ounces.
“We have to make up our own daily special, too, so that’s something that we will come to the competition with,” Whitacre said. “We also have to debut two coffees on pour over.”
The Commonplace plans to feature Colombian and Tanzanian coffee on pour over; their Perpetual Espresso, a Colombian espresso; and their feature drink.
The team will find out if they will be moving on to the national competition in Portland for the title of America’s Best Coffeehouse at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 9.