Opinion

Kyle Ramage, champion barista

Thomas Kyle Ramage is the winner of the 2017 United States Barista Championship.
Thomas Kyle Ramage is the winner of the 2017 United States Barista Championship. The Herald-Sun

Kyle Ramage thinks winning the 2017 Barista Championship was not only an achievement for him, but an important recognition for our region.

“For the Southeastern coffee culture, you cannot deny us anymore, and you can’t look down on us,” Ramage told The Herald-Sun’s Zachery Eanes.

The elite competition in Seattle normally is won by baristas from major metro areas, but this is the second year a Durham barista has taken the prize. And Ramage, who works at a subsidiary of a German maker of hgh-end commercial coffee grinders, is the first winner who doesn’t work at a coffeeshop or roastery.

Lem Butler, last year’s winner, says Ramage, to whom he has been a mentor, has been a fast learner. “He’s an amazing guy,” Butler said, “and what I really like about him is his skills as a coffee maker have exploded since I first met him.”

His rapid rise and his championship certainly are — forgive us this expression — grounds for this week’s Durham Grit Award.

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