Shopping Cart

Reyna Callejo Is Your 2024 U.S. Coffee in Good Spirits Champion!

Posted by Lori White on

Three fast-paced rounds of competition, three info-packed presentations, and five impeccably-crafted coffee cocktails. That's what Olympia Coffee's Reyna Callejo pulled off this past weekend, April 12–14 at the U.S. Coffee in Good Spirits Championship in Chicago, Illinois. With cool composure and a small amount of (actual) fire she crushed the competition, becoming our nation's reigning Coffee in Good Spirits Champion!

Reyna takes the torch from our own Sam Schroeder, who stood by as her coach over the course of the weekend. This makes two years in a row that the Olympia Coffee team has claimed the national title for Coffee in Good Spirits. And two years in a row that we'll be heading to Worlds to represent the U.S. on the international stage. You know, as we do.

For those who know her, Reyna's victory was pyrotechnic (for proof, see the over seventy congratulatory comments on our Instagram announcement). Exhilarating—if not entirely surprising. After all, she's built a foundation years deep of competing in the specialty coffee arena. She's gained experience and developed deep relationships across the industry. And boy, has she put in the work.

It's her tenacity and sheer gustatory brilliance, partnered with the strength of her relationships, that secured Reyna the crown this year. Her winning drinks featured a unique cacao co-fermented coffee from long-time friends Juli Burden and Rick Merker at Maunawili Coffee on Oahu. Sourced and roasted by Olympia's experimental sister company Oliver's Custom Coffee, this extra-special lot paired beautifully with the "cacao caviar" Reyna concocted using the pulp of that very same cacao. With it being a cocktail competition and all, this circle of friends wouldn't have been complete without some Hawaiian Kō Hana Rum and their meltingly delicious rum-barrel-aged honey. Incredible ingredients—all made by incredible people.

Growing up in Hawai`i, Reyna developed a deep love for her home and for the people who tend and preserve it. In the debrief after her first round, she related the experience of driving past burning sugarcane fields and the stain of smoke on her sensory memory. Her presentation carried the force of that fire, sweeping through a history of Hawaiian land ownership and sugarcane commercialization. All leading up to a present in which friends and partners—such as the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center, Maunawili Coffee, and Kō Hana Rum—are working together to restore and re-imagine a vibrant, sustainable Hawaiian agricultural ecosystem.

It's the kind of storytelling that we crave more of here at Olympia Coffee. Over the weekend, we had as many of these conversations as we could with producers, industry friends, and partners, people who also want to see the specialty coffee industry set a better course toward a more equitable, just, and sustainable future. And we're beyond proud that Reyna will be carrying these conversations to the world stage in Copenhagen this June.

With that, stay tuned as Reyna continues on the road to the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship! In the meantime, we'll be having a cocktail or two—and not just for competition prep.

Older Post Newer Post