At the 160 th anniversary of the Illinois State Fair, Red Cup Showdown contestants spent the morning spicing, icing and glittering their coffee beverages during the fourth Red Cup Showdown - Seattle’s Best Coffee’s summer search across state fairs and on Facebook for the most imaginative new coffee drink. Taking home the first place blue ribbon was Anthony Karas of Chatham, Ill. for his rich, chocolaty “Café Mocha en Fuego” coffee drink.
TV Chef Jeff Mauro with the Illinois State Fair Red Cup Showdown winners. Left to right: 3rd Place Winner Patricia Keim, Judge Jeff Mauro, 1st Place Winner Anthony Karas, 2nd Place Winner Maureen Squires. (Photo: Business Wire)
“The 13 contestants threw down at the showdown in Illinois, incorporating international flavors, playing off classic candy bars, and celebrating the season’s fresh fruits in their coffee drinks,” said TV Chef Jeff Mauro. “In the end, Anthony Karas’ impressive blend of spicy and sweet in his ‘Café Mocha en Fuego’ had the perfect kick to win first place.”
Karas whipped, mixed and sprinkled his drink in front of a live audience and the Red Cup Showdown judging group made up of TV Chef Jeff Mauro, Nancy Sweet from Lincoln Land Community College and Sam Asay of Seattle’s Best Coffee in the Hobbies, Arts and Crafts Pavilion at the Illinois State Fair. Maureen Squires from Springfield, Ill. came in second place for her “Seattle’s Best Almond Joy” coffee drink and Patricia Keim of East Peoria, Ill. took home the third place ribbon for her “Christmas in July” cold coffee beverage.
Karas will travel to New York City to compete in a live coffee-making battle against finalists from the California, Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa state fairs as well as one Facebook finalist for the $10,000 grand prize and the chance to have their drinks featured at Seattle’s Best Coffee locations nationwide. In addition to a trip to the Big Apple in late August, Karas received $500 and free coffee for a year.