Steve Cuevas: National Cup Tasting Champion
Steve Cuevas grew up in the suburbs of Southern California. Having been a barista since 2004, he eventually made his way North through a series of jobs at Bicycle repair shops and Cafés, eventually finding himself at Black Oak Coffee Roasters where he met owners Jon & Keith in 2014. He was hired as a barista but through his insatiable appetite for education and fierce, genuine passion for coffee, he transitioned full time to head up the roasting and quality control program there. Since Steve has been at the helm, he has taken the quality of Black Oak Coffee to an entirely new level, eventually establishing Black Oak as a highly regarded award winning roaster. In 2016 he helped earn two gold medals for his roast profiles of two Single Origin Ethiopian Coffees at the Golden Bean Competition, with a total pool of over 200 entrants. He also took a bronze medal for his Decaf Roast of Black Oak’s proprietary “Canopy” decaf blend.
In 2017 Steve was again thrust into the spotlight when he became the Specialty Coffee Association’s 2017 National Cup Tasting Champion, in which he correctly identified 6 of 8 sets of blind tasted unique coffees in 2 minutes and 20 seconds, besting his competitor in time by over a minute. He will move on to compete in the World Championships in Budapest Hungary in July 2017. While a significant upset in the Specialty Coffee competition scene, this solidified his reputation as a professional in the Specialty Coffee Industry, and recognized him for his hard work and dedication developing his palate.
Steve attended his first Specialty Coffee Expo in 2015 in awe of the energy of the competitions and was inspired to sign up to compete.
When he’s not sample roasting or setting up a cupping, Steve enjoys exploring the nuances of craft spirits and obscure wines. He is currently enjoying discovering the natural wines of Europe and Japanese Whiskey. While he now calls Ukiah home, he is also known to travel frequently to the hot food and beverage spots in the North Bay & Bay Area to compete in the BACC latte art competitions or throw back some oysters.