Luen Proft, coffee program coordinator, Lucas Confectionery
2014 Barista Albany Champion
Four of the Capital Region’s top baristas competed for bragging rights today during the second annual “Barista Albany” at the Hilton Albany.
Luen Proft, coffee program coordinator at the Lucas Confectionery in Troy, took home the top honors, producing espresso drinks for a panel of three judges within the 20-minute time allotment.
His coffee beans of choice were Hayes Valley Espresso of California-based Blue Bottle Coffee. Milk was provided by Meadow Brook Dairy of Clarksville, N.Y.
Proft, 21, was raised and home-schooled on Someday Farm in East Dorset, Vt., where his family produces vegetables, poultry, game birds, eggs, compost, fruit, maple syrup and honey for many notable East Coast retail shops and restaurants.
Proft’s signature drink was a chocolate cortado, made with Noval Black port and stone ground chocolate.
“Growing up on a farm has given me an appreciation of terroir — how nature, geography and climate affects products like coffee, wine and chocolate.”
For winning the contest, Proft received a Compak K3 Touch Espresso Grinder, Chemex 8 Cup Coffee Maker and filters, Bonavita Gooseneck Kettle, and a six-bottle case of Torani Signature Syrups.
Proft’s signature cortado will now be added to the menu at Lucas Confectionery.
The three other competitors were: 2013 Barista Albany Champion David Schulman of Hudson River Coffee House; Heather Froeschle of Happy Cappuccino; and Ron Greico of Tierra Roasters.