Thirteen baristas from across the nation pitted their coffee creativity against the clock at the Top Cup Challenge, sponsored by Pacific Natural Foods at Coffee Fest Meadowlands on March 5-6.

Pacific Natural Foods’ Barista Series Soy Blenders and Barista Series Organic Soy Frappé and Smoothie Base product lines took center stage as contestants wielded their winning concepts in a contest that earned drink makers of the tastiest hot and cold beverages a $300 prize.

The winners were:


1st Anna Gutierrez, “Salty Caramel Goodness”

2nd Ryan Ludwig, “Espressoy Monkeyatto”

3rd Chris Ganger, “The drink that shall not be named”


1st place Kali Latte

1st Brett Barker, “Kali Latte”

2nd Anna Gutierrez, “Peach Cobbler”

3rd Phoebe Aceta, “Soy Ginger Mocha”

The winning hot concept, Kali Latte, was already a hit with customers at The Espresso Bar in Dayton, Ohio, before Barker wowed judges with it at the Top Cup Challenge. Made with a triple shot of ristretto espresso, spiced with vindaloo curry and sweetened with a touch of honey, the latte features steamed Barista Series Plain Soy Blenders. “It’s popular in Dayton because it’s a more savory drink that surprises,” says Barker, who routinely concocts unusual drinks using his co-workers as guinea pigs. “Not a lot of people are experimenting with savory coffee drinks right now, and customers really like the Kali Latte.”

The next Top Cup Challenge sponsored by Pacific Natural Foods will be held during Coffee Fest Minneapolis during June 4-6. For more information, visit or

Menu Innovations, News