Portola Coffee Lab to Host the Western Regionals of the US Barista Competition

Costa Mesa, CA (January 2014) – Portola Coffee Lab has been tapped to be a host the Big Western Barista competition, a qualifying competition for the US Barista Competition. The Big Western Barista Competition, during which 13 states will be competing, will take place Friday, February 21st through Sunday, February 23rd at Lot 613 in Downtown Los Angeles (613 Imperial Street). The United States Barista Championship is presented under the watchful eye of the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Barista Guild of America to serve as a platform for baristas to enhance their espresso beverage making skills through an exciting and challenging competition.

“It’s a great honor for us to host such a prestigious competition. Portola Coffee Lab has always challenged its baristas and those throughout our region to best utilize their skills to deliver a rich experience with a deeper understanding of the nuances of inspired brewing techniques,” explained Jeff Duggan, who co-owns Portola Coffee Lab with his wife, Christa. “We will be presenting a Beer Garden at the competition and host an after party for those involved. Of course, a highlight for us will be to support our four baristas participating in the event.”

Details for the Big Western Barista Competition are as follows (media welcome to cover the event – please contact Mona Shah-Anderson at mona@moxxepr.com):



Friday, February 21st and Saturday, February 22nd: 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Sunday, February 23rd: 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM



Lot 613 (613 Imperial Street in Downtown Los Angeles)



This event is a free, public event


Official Website:



After Party: Portola Coffee Lab will host an after party on Saturday, February 22nd from 8 PM to midnight at Art Share LA (801 E 4th Place in Downtown Los Angeles). The invitation only party will feature 5-piece karaoke band, Mr. Mister Miyagi, and cocktails by noted mixologist Gabrielle Dion. Media interested in attending may contact Mona Shah-Anderson at mona@moxxepr.com for credentials.



The regional coffee competitions include performances from professional baristas over a 3-day event. In a 15-minute presentation, competitors prepare and serve three courses of signature espresso-based beverages to a panel of four sensory judges, two technical judges and one head judge. Competitors strive for a harmonious balance of sweetness, bitterness, acidity, and aromatics. A signature beverage is a highly innovative, freestyle espresso-based beverage created by the barista for the competition.

Road to the US Barista Championship: 1st – 6th place regional winners advance to compete at the US Barista Championship which takes place at annually at The Specialty Coffee Association of America event.

The US Barista Championship: The United States Barista Championship (USBC) is a platform for baristas to enhance their espresso beverage making skills through an exciting and challenging competition. In 15 minutes, the barista must prepare and serve espressos, cappuccinos, and a personally designed signature beverage for four sensory judges; all while being assessed on their preparation abilities by two technical judges. The USBC is more than a competition; it’s a place to develop community and meet other coffee lovers from across the US. Throughout the year, baristas from all across the country compete in six regional competitions to qualify for this national event and the winner of the USBC will go on to represent the United States in the World Barista Championship.



What began as the selfish pursuit for delicious coffee turned into a decade-long fanatic passion for roasting coffee for Jeff Duggan, who first opened Portola Handcrafted Coffee Roasters in Irvine in 2009. Using a very small batch roaster, Jeff worked feverishly to keep the pantries and hoppers full in many homes and food establishments throughout Orange County, but roasting meticulously sourced coffee beans and serving them ultra-fresh was not enough. He found that far too many great beans were destroyed at the hands of poor equipment, flawed technique, and coffee storage dispensers. To further his brewing science, which continues to be underestimated in the industry, Jeff and his wife, Christa, created Portola Coffee Lab in 2011. The goal was to create a 100% single-cup craft brew coffeehouse designed and constructed as a nod to craft, quality, and freshness.

Within a year of bringing a never-before-seen concept and style of coffee to Orange County – one that had previously only been offered in the country’s largest metropolitan areas – Portola Coffee Lab has created a distinct brand that revolves around producing an artisanal culinary product, Craft Coffee. In September 2012, husband-and-wife team, Jeff and Christa Duggan, expanded their culinary range with the opening of their 6-seat Craft Coffee bar, Theorem.

Theorem by Portola Coffee Lab focuses on sustainable, local, and seasonal ingredients, complex textures, and global flavors, while introducing hand-crafted items that stray outside of the coffee arena, such as ice cream made to order with liquid nitrogen for a unique take on the classic Affogato.

The concept was quickly followed by a foray into the world of tea with the introduction of Seventh Tea Bar in December 2012. The Duggans’ take on the classic tea house offers nearly 100 unique and thoughtful varieties of tea spanning the globe, ranging from loose-leaf varieties, iced teas on tap, and fruit and herb-infused custom creations.

Jeff and Christa Duggan focus on empowering the community with quality, traceable, fresh-roasted coffee and single-estate teas, presented in an artful context – one cup at a time.

For more information, please visit http://www.portolacoffeelab.com.

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