You may never be able to truly call any coffee shop barista a ‘household name,’ though that doesn’t seem to be stopping Charles Babinksi from trying. The Go Get Em Tiger and G&B Coffee co-owner (along with Kyle Glanville) has taken home the top prize at the 2015 United States Barista Championship, which was held over the weekend in Long Beach.
Coffee culture publication Sprudge has all of the details this way (the Barista Championships are sorta like their Olympics, so this win is a pretty big deal for them). But suffice it to say, this one was a long time coming for Babinksi, who is one of the big names to come out of Intelligentsia in the past decade.
Not only has Babinski been competing within the USBC bracket on some level since 2008, first with Intelligentsia and then on his own, he’s also won the regional qualifying rounds several times before, which propelled him to the national stage. In fact, Babinski had, heartbreakingly enough, finished in second place three years in a row before last weekend’s win.
For now, Babinski can return home to G&B in downtown’s Grand Central Market, trophy in hand. Better still, he’ll get to add it to the growing case, which among other things includes a 2008 USBC overall win for his partner, Glanville. But in April, Babinski will defend America against the tyranny of international coffee-pourers at the World Barista Championships. There might be a bit of home turf advantage, though, as that competition weekend happens up in Seattle.