Announcing The Sprudge Twenty Class Of 2020—Presented By Pacific Barista Series

Hello! Welcome to the official announcement of The Sprudge Twenty, presented by Sprudge and Pacific Barista Series.

This is the second class of Sprudge Twenty honorees, part of a new annual tradition honoring and amplifying leaders in the global coffee community in partnership with Pacific Barista Series. Pacific is dedicated to championing leadership and excellence in the coffee industry, and to supporting coffee culture as it happens worldwide.

That support and commitment happens in good times and bad. Here in the spring of 2020 the global coffee industry and the people behind it are threatened with an unprecedented challenge in the face of COVID-19. And yet, this moment makes highlighting the incredible work of individuals around the world even more important. These twenty people are changing the game in coffee, doing work that challenges and excites us, from every step of the coffee value chain: entrepreneurs and coffee producers, baristas and cafe owners, career coffee professionals, and those whose careers are just starting, competition success stories, and folks working quietly behind the scenes, leading by example. All of them have been impacted by current events; all of them have stories worth championing as loud as possible, now more than ever.

From a massive list of nominees around the world, below please find the Second Annual Sprudge Twenty class presented by Pacific Barista Series. We hope these stories will bring a smile to your face—as they have to ours—but many also include a call to action, a way to get involved to support the various projects and causes represented by our incredible global class. Each one of these members will receive a spotlight feature in the coming weeks on Sprudge, so get ready to know them a little better. For now, read on to discover the Sprudge Twenty presented alphabetically, and thank you.

Want to nominate someone in your community for the next Sprudge Twenty class? The nomination schedule for the 2021 Sprudge Twenty presented by Pacific Barista Series will be announced this fall. Sign up for the Sprudge Newsletter and never miss an update. 

Kat Adams, Cold Brew City Fest

Kat Adams (Photo courtesy Kat Adams)

“Kat Adams participates in the USBC Championships, is one of the organizers of Cold Brew City Fest, and has brought attention to gender identity to the coffee community in southern California. Recipient of the Q-Grader scholarship from Wrecking Ball and an amazing and talented coffee professional.” Nominated by Pablo Lara

Kathy Altamirano, Counter Culture Coffee

Kathy Altamirano (Photo by Sprudge)

“Kathy Altamirano exemplifies everything that the Sprudge Twenty is about. She works as tirelessly and enthusiastically at building a stronger, more inclusive local coffee community as she does judging the Finals at the World Brewers Cup and every step in between. When I would organize local coffee events, Kathy was always the first to volunteer, and she would be the first person to arrive and the last to leave. I’ve never met anyone who genuinely cares about building a better coffee community at all levels as much as Kathy does, and more importantly, she actively works (often thanklessly) toward creating it.” Nominated by Zac Cadwalader

Brittany Amell, Royal Coffee NY

Brittany Amell (Photo courtesy Brittany Amell)

“She is the super friendly barista that makes coffee approachable, but the green coffee version. Treating customers like you want to help them, and answer questions and be a totally great human being while doing it. If there was green coffee trading competitions she would blow everyone away.” Nominated by Arsalan Pourmand

Dandy Anderson, Stumptown Coffee

Dandy Anderson (Photo by Liz Dean)

“Dandy exudes quiet, unassuming leadership and that is exactly what makes them such a needed voice in our industry. Dandy is empathetic, understanding, patient, firm, and also pragmatic.They are generous with their time, energy, spirit, kindness, and heart. Their ideologies on the workplace, team dynamics, and what it means to be a leader makes me hope there’s a day I can call them a colleague. For now, I’m so lucky to call them a peer and also a friend.” Nominated by Kendra Sledzinski

Virginia Bauman, Go Get Em Tiger

Virginia Bauman (Photo by Jessica Zollman)

“I joined Go Get Em Tiger in July 2018 thanks to my now manager, Virginia Bauman, seeing a Facebook post I’d made announcing I was looking for steady work. I’d been pursuing a career in freelance commercial photography since 2007 and it was time for me to take my skills into a structured space that would still provide me with some creative freedom. Virginia brought me in as Visual Coordinator at GGET and has done so much more than given me room to take creative risks; she’s actively encouraged, supported, and pushed me to think beyond what I believe is possible. She’s fostered a culture of transparency, vulnerability, accountability and personal growth that has allowed me and my co-workers to flourish. All while operating an LGBTQIA+ coffee shop of her own, Cuties Coffee, in the heart of Los Angeles. Virginia exemplifies the future of coffee.” Nominated by Jessica Zollman

Noa Berger, Paris, France

Noa Berger (Photo by Lucie Sassiat)

“Noa Berger is a Ph.D. candidate at the EHESS Paris, studying the social construction of quality in the Brazilian and French specialty coffee markets. She is incredibly active within the French coffee scene but also the larger specialty coffee industry. Noa is one of the main reasons I have opened up my mind to many of the anthropological questions coffee asks and she is responsible for many in-depth conversations …we are so grateful to have someone like her invest her mind, time, and energy in our industry. Noa is definitely someone to look up to and be inspired by.” Nominated by Mihaela Iordache

Estelle Bright, La Marzocco UK

Estelle Bright (Photo courtesy Estelle Bright)

“Estelle has been in the industry for fifteen years, once an incredible barista pacing the way for the young baristas in the London scene today—she’s done everything from barista, trainer, coffee delivery driver and now heads up all things technical for La Marzocco UK.” Nominated by James Stelling

Allie Caran, Partners Coffee

Allie Caran (Photo courtesy Allie Caran)

“Allie Caran is the Director of Coffee Education at Partners Coffee and has been with the company since 2012. At Partners Coffee, Allie oversees the company’s broad range of educational offerings, from their public Brew School courses for consumers to Partners Coffee’s wholesale barista training programs and more.” Nominated by Angela Pizzimenti

Amaris Guttierez-Ray, Women In Coffee

Amaris Guttierez-Ray (Photo by Roberta Duarte)

“While Amaris’s Central American heritage and direct family ties in Nicaragua give passion and a unique perspective to her work, she has applied her academic training in research techniques to the science of coffee roasting, QA/QC systems, and the complicated business of the coffee supply chain.

Amaris started at Joe Coffee Company in 2015 as a part-time barista at our Pro Shop. In 2016, she joined our roasting team as a Production Roaster, bringing some years of roasting and management experience, and quickly moved into the Director of Roasting position. She has also established herself in the larger coffee community by creating the Women in Coffee project, a volunteer-run project aiming to highlight the voices of women throughout the coffee supply chain. In her “downtime” from work at Joe, Amaris puts her academic skills to use galvanizing the coffee community by cultivating transparency and providing forums for women to share the stories and experiences that would otherwise be obscured by innate and inequitable gender dynamics.” Nominated by Jonathan Rubinstein

Bartholomew Jones, Cxffeeblack

Bartholomew Jones (Photo by Erin Kim)

“I first stumbled on Bart via his project Cxffeeblack late 2019. He released this coffee that was called “Guji Mane”, a natural process coffee with a very punny name. Didn’t think much of my man passed that but I started following him and his coffee project. The longer I followed him the more I came to realize that his genuine positive mindset and knack for education for sure set him apart from any of my newer peers. He has tasked himself to educate this surrounding area about their connection to coffee(which in Memphis, can’t be easy) and did so without othering anyone.” Nominated by Cameron Heath

Lauren Lathrop, Mill City Roasters

Lauren Lathrop (Photo by Mill City Roasters)

“There are a plethora of wonderful head judges on the US Barista Competition Committee, but Lauren’s linguistic talents, when supporting her judging panels, is why she was the perfect person to lead us. Lauren has the wonderful ability to speak with articulate, complex, brevity yet makes the subject entertaining and digestible.

She displays compassion for all her judges, and empathy for all the competitors. She encourages us all to be better people, not just judges, through her unconscious bias training, and general demeanor….She is a specialty coffee role model, and professional inspiration, and thoroughly deserves the recognition that a Sprudgie would provide.” Nominated by Barnaby Holmes

Angie Katherine Molina Ospina, Insignia Coffee

Angie Katherine Molina Ospina (Photo by Paula Molina)

“Angie and her husband Jhon founded Insignia Coffee. Angie is a dedicated, passionate, and exceptional in the specialty coffee industry in Colombia. She volunteers her time to help others, is a dedicated volunteer in coffee events, and works with many coffee farmers and organizations.” Nominated by Paul Kevin Doyle

Jacob King, GYST Coffee Training

Jake King (Photo courtesy Jake King)

“Glitter Cat alum Jacob King is working on a free training project called GYST, has been heavily involved in the Black coffee community and is just a genuine dude. I am excited to see him grow as a barista and how he pushes the community forward for coffee in the southeast.” Nominated by Connan Moody

Ellan Kline, Ritual Coffee

Ellan Kline (Photo by RJ Joseph)

“In her five years in the Bay, Ellan has been instrumental in building a large, thriving community of trans coffee professionals at various tiers of the industry. When she moved here, she was the only visibly trans person in her company. Over the 5 years since, she has persisted in her growth and worked her way into various roles through sheer undeniability, skill, and dedication, and left the door wide open for others, fighting to help them see themselves and the growth they deserve. Now, it’s easy to go into a coffee shop in the Bay Area and find multiple trans baristas behind the bar. She would never take even the smallest amount of credit for that, but I’ve watched her work, her humility, and her persistence, and I see the series of stepping stones she’s laid for others. She is humble yet unapologetic about her skills and experience. She never felt the need to prove anything to anyone, and yet she has. She works quietly without the need for recognition, but she deserves it.” Nominated by RJ Joseph

Ever Meister, Cafe Imports

Ever Meister (Photo by Victor J. Pagán)

“Ever is a force for good in our industry: She’s a thoughtful, empathetic, and intuitive communicator focused on many of the complex issues at hand today. Outside of her work as Editorial Manager and Director of Education at Café Imports, Ever has produced valuable content across written features, presentations, and podcasts. Right now, she’s leaning into some really big questions around specialty coffee marketing ethics and grappling with how we can work towards a more equitable coffee industry. Ever is one of those rare communicators who manages both prolificacy and quality.” Nominated by Jenn Rugolo

Felipe Sardi, La Palma y El Tucan

Felipe Sardi (Photo by Felipe Sardi)

“I would like to nominate Felipé because first, he is a great human. He shares his knowledge and he is very open to sharing his experience. His farm is following sustainable processes and a permaculture system. The farm is admirable. He is taking a big part in his community with the neighbors and crops program, and in the process changing the processes and quality in the Cundinamarca region. He also participates in the Glitter Cat Project providing coffees. He is a big actor in specialty coffee in Colombia and tries at maximum to make the community and the share of knowledge in the first place.” Nominated by Clementine Labussiere

Kendra Sledzinski, Philadelphia

Kendra Sledzinski (Photo courtesy Kendra Sledzinski)

“How do I put into words how Kendra has affected my life and countless others? We met at Joe Coffee in New York five years ago and hit it off right away. Who was this friendly person, I wanted to know! Soon I became aware of Kendra’s influence in the coffee community of Philadelphia. When I went to visit her, everywhere we went, she knew someone. Kendra constantly went above and beyond in Philly to encourage professional development and community with the Joe staff and baristas of Philly—doing palate development and cuppings that were never required, but she knew how to make baristas stay. She works hard for her community, and works hard to lift other people up—and she does so selflessly. Thank you Kendra!” Nominated by Kayla Baird

Ramsey Smith, Virgin Islands Coffee Roasters

Ramsey Smith (Photo courtesy Ramsey Smith)

“The dividends of Ramsey’s labor and sacrifice are just now beginning to start paying off. His business, Virgin Islands Coffee Roasters, is now in many of the local resorts, grocery stores, and even the airport. His company was now apart of the U.S Virgin Island experience and culture. However, his business and all of his customer business was devastated by Hurricane Irma which struck on September 6, 2017.
However they now bigger than ever and have exceed their size prior to the storms. They have a brand new café that you recently did a piece on and they also opened another roastery in Florida as well as the roastery in the U.S Virgin Islands. This is why he is my hero. He has weathered the storm and never lost faith.” Nominated by John Coyne

Oliver Stormshak, Olympia Coffee

Oliver Stormshak (Photo by Charlie Voohris)

“I’d like to nominate Oliver Stormshak, owner of Olympia Coffee, for his work with coffee producers and the Fair For All initiative. Fair For All is the culmination of years of hard work and passion for Oliver. He pushes the boundaries of our industry norm and continuously strives for higher quality of life for everyone involved in the supply chain. Guaranteeing things like sustainable wages for everyone involved, only choosing to work with producers who support the kind of quality of life and transparency he believes in and taking the time, energy, and resources to visit producers every year to provide feedback and develop relationships; Fair For All is true step towards a sustainable future for our industry ensuring that people see coffee farming as a viable career option.” Nominated by Richelle Parker

La Nisa Williams, Barista Life LA

La Nisa Williams (Photo courtesy La Nisa Williams)

“La Nisa is a long time coffee professional and freelance trainer who has helped built the coffee programs of many cafes and restaurants in the LA area, most notably places owned and operated by Black people and people of color. Her work here in LA resonates throughout the community and she inspires people who initially have little interest in coffee into a deep appreciation. I see her at every nearby event working, volunteering, soaking up information, and offering her expertise to become a better professional just so she can share it with others. Her focus on businesses that are often overlooked to the rest of the specialty coffee scene here is beyond just admirable—it’s the Lord’s work (lol) and she makes our coffee community here as a whole so much better.” Nominated by Michelle Johnson

Visit Sprudge.com/twenty for more on the Sprudge Twenty presented by Pacific Barista Series. Watch for upcoming interviews with each member of the 2020 class right here on Sprudge!