Kean Barista Janelle Bel Isle at the 2008 Ultimate Barista Challenge

In the interest of giving a thorough account of the event, we are posting here the official Press Release from the producers of the Ultimate Barista Challenge. Kean Coffee was very proud of our own Janelle Bel Isle for her performance in the UBC in August. She worked hard and reaped the rewards!

Janelle at UBC 2008

Janelle at UBC 2008

The 2008 Ultimate Barista Challenge® USA in Los Angeles where local baristi attempt to oust USA Ultimate Barista Heather Perry!


Portland, Oregon, USA – The 2008 Ultimate Barista Challenge USA features “dueling challenges” in Latte Art, Espresso Frappe, Espresso Cocktail and Best of Brew Challenges. The Los Angeles UBC is hosted at the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo where barista battle it out in qualifying Challenges earning cash prizes, medallions, sponsor gifts and the right to challenge the nation’s top “Ultimate Barista”, Heather Perry, thereby, becoming the next Ultimate Barista Los Angeles!  This no holds barred espresso & brewed coffee competition where taste, talent and speed earn high marks with the UBC Tasting and Technical judges.

World Renowned Ultimate Barista USA, Heather Perry successfully fended off three of four determined challengers.  Jeff Thomas of Coffee Klatch in San Dimas California won the Qualifying Challenge in Espresso Frappe. Jeff challenged Ultimate Barista Heather Perry who prevailed in the Ultimate Challenge unscathed and flawless in her performance. Janelle Bel Isle of Kean Coffee in Newport Beach won three of the four Qualifying Challenges and in one final match defeated Heather in the Espresso Cocktail Challenge!  Janelle’s winning cocktail was a delightful combination of espresso, roasted at Kean Coffee, spice infused port wine, and velvety chocolate to create a delicious aperitif suitable for any upscale café or restaurant. Heather’s cocktail, featured her own blend coffee roasted by Coffee Klatch of San Dimas.

UBC founder and Emcee Danny Johns of WholeCup Coffee Consulting, LLC presided over the Ultimate Barista Challenge USA with lively commentary and introductions as more than 15,000 attendees enjoyed the show and local cafes cheered for their favorite barista. Exclusive UBC Sponsor’s products and equipment were featured for audience members to enjoy and to witness the Ultimate Barista prepare their creative tasty coffee concoctions.


“This is a challenge where all the egos are gone and its pure talent and love for the craft of making great espresso based drinks”, states Cliff B. Young, Minister of Culinary Awareness for Let’s Dine Out Radio Show. Judge Robbie Lewis, Manager of Purchasing for Catalina Restaurant Group states “Participating in the Ultimate Barista Challenge is a wonderful opportunity for young people to get involved in our industry and to grow professionally in a fun, exciting and competitive atmosphere.” Ron Mathews, Event Director for Reed Exhibitions says, “The UBC brings excitement to the show floor side by side with the chef competitions.”  



Esteemed UBC Judges included renowned International Judge & UBC creator Sherri Johns, Gary Horne, General Manager of Astoria / CMA GEEC, Mrs. Robbie Lewis and Cliff Young of the “Lets Dine Out Radio Show” (food critic) KTIE 590 AM Radio.  UBC Judges found themselves drinking great espresso based drinks with a wide variety of alcohol, frappe, exotic ingredients & latte art!  This year’s UBC event brought 17 baristi from San Dimas, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Venice and Temecula, CA! Congratulations to our new UBC Espresso Cocktail Champion Los Angeles Janelle bel Isle of Kean Coffee in Newport Beach, California and all of the participating Baristi!


OUR SPONSORS: The Ultimate Barista Challenge USA Exclusive UBC Espresso Machine Sponsor is GEEC / General Espresso Equipment Corp., Exclusive UBC Coffee Brewers and Grinders by BUNN-O-Matic Corporation, Exclusive UBC Syrup and Flavoring Sponsor Torani Syrups, Official UBC Blender Sponsor Vita-Mix® Corporation, Official UBC Media Sponsor; CoffeeTalk Magazine, Official UBC Specialty Coffee Sponsor for LA UBC Boyd Coffee Company, Diedrich Manufacturing, Inc. as Official Coffee Roaster Machines Sponsor and the Official UBC Exclusive Dairy Sponsor Organic Valley Family of Farms. Other sponsors include Reg Barber Enterprises and Joe Glow/Pallo.


The UBC is endorsed by the National Coffee Association of America and Presented by WholeCup Coffee Consulting LLC.  


About the Ultimate Barista Challenge®. Began in 2006, in the Pacific Northwest, long known as the country’s ‘coffee hot spot’. The Ultimate Barista Challenge (UBC) is an open competition. Barista enter one to four tasty bouts of coffee and espresso challenges: Espresso Frappe, Latte Art, Espresso Cocktails and Best of Brew Challenges. Baristi enter and compete in a qualifying round and those who win go on to challenge an Ultimate Barista of their choice to compete in a one-on-one dueling final contest of fast-paced espresso excellence.


The Ultimate Barista Challenge® is owned and produced by WholeCup Coffee Consulting, LLC, and endorsed by the NCA, National Coffee Association of America. Founders of the USBC and Barista Jams in the USA, now produce UBC at Culinary Shows worldwide. For more info, to register, or inquire about available sponsorships, please visit or call 1-503-232-1016.


The Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo in Los Angeles, CA is produced by Reed Exhibition and sponsored by the California Restaurant Association. Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading exhibition and conference organizer with 2,300 employees in 33 offices serving 52 industries worldwide. For more information visit or call 888-334-8705.


For more information:


Ultimate Barista Challenge;

The National Coffee Association of USA;

The International Women’s Coffee Alliance;




  1. So that’s where Janelle has been. Good work. Always thought you were the ultimate Barista anyway. You didn’t need a trophy to prove it. Now come back home to the Mesa…PLEASE! It’s just not the same.

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