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Little Amps advances in coffee competition

Little Amps Coffee Roasters, which operates two coffee shops in Harrisburg as well as a kiosk in Strawberry Square, beat a number of brands from the East Coast of the United States and the eastern provinces of Canada at Coffee Fest in Baltimore on Saturday and Sunday.

The midstate roaster won a five-round tournament with its Rwanda Cyato coffee going through a panel of three judges.

The brand is moving on to compete on the national level with winners from Coffee Fest’s competition in Denver involving central states and provinces, as well as winners from a round in Los Angeles from western states and provinces.

The final round of the Baltimore competition pitted Little Amps against Elixr, a Philadelphia-based wholesaler with three locations in the city.

Founded in 1992, Coffee Fest holds three competitions each year in several categories, including a cold brew competition and a latte art contest. The six winners in each category from two years’ worth of competitions then compete in a biannual grand championship, the 2019 edition of which will include Little Amps.

The Rwanda Cyato blend used by Little Amps came from a washing station in the Nyamesheke region of Rwanda via Coffee Shrub, a California-based distributor. Dalton Rhone, a barista for Little Amps, was given 10 minutes in each round to submit three drinks to the judges.

According to the Coffee Fest website, the winner of the espresso competition receives a $2,000 prize, which Little Amps wholesale manager Peter Leonard said is going directly to Dalton. The barista hopes to use the funds to coordinate with the family that owns the Rwandan washing station.

Founded by Aaron Carlson in 2010, Little Amps began as a wholesale roaster at a local production warehouse in Harrisburg and maintains 30 wholesale accounts nationwide. The company opened its first retail location in 2011 at the corner of Green and Muench streets in the Olde Uptown neighborhood of Harrisburg. It opened a second location in 2013 at the corner of Second and State streets in downtown Harrisburg, and a kiosk inside the Strawberry Square shopping mall in Harrisburg in 2015.