July 18, 2012 Coffee & Company

California Cook Chosen as a Finalist in the Seattle’s Best Coffee “Red Cup Showdown” National Coffee Drink Competition, Hosted by TV Chef Jeff Mauro

SEATTLE, July 18, 2012 - Blenders were overflowing, coffee was steaming and the crowd was cheering this weekend at the California State Fair during the first-ever Seattle's Best Coffee Red Cup Showdown – a competition at state fairs across the country and on Facebook to create the most imaginative new coffee drink. The live audience was on the edge of their seats as they watched Liz Cochrane of Lodi, Calif., defeat the competition and take home the first place blue ribbon with her coffee drink idea, "Hot Caramel Apple Coffee."

"The competition was fierce at the first-ever Red Cup Showdown," said TV Chef Jeff Mauro. "The California cooks really stepped up to the challenge with a menagerie of flavors – from a red velvet mocha to a ‘Circus Maximus' coffee milkshake. At the end of the day, Liz Cochrane won over our taste buds with her Hot Caramel Apple Coffee, which combined the flavors of a favorite fall treat with Seattle's Best Coffee."

Cochrane entered the competition by preparing her drink live at the California State Fair for the "Red Cup Showdown" judging team comprised of TV Chef Jeff Mauro, State Fair Police Officer Chris O'Connor and Sue McCown of Seattle's Best Coffee. Kathleen Arceo of Sacramento claimed second place with "Orange Spice Brulot," and Joanna Durkee, also of Sacramento, finished third with "The Red Velvet Cup."

Cochrane is the first of six finalists who will be sent to New York City to compete for the $10,000 grand prize and the chance to have their drinks featured at Seattle's Best Coffee locations nationwide. In New York, Cochrane will participate in a live coffee-making battle against finalists from the Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa state fairs as well as one Facebook finalist. In addition to a trip to the Big Apple in late August, Cochrane received $500 and free coffee for a year.

Californians can show their support of their hometown winner by participating in public voting on the Seattle's Best Coffee Facebook page Aug. 18-22. The grand-prize winning coffee drink will be selected based on the vote of the judging panel at the New York finale, as well as Facebook votes.

This summer, creative cooks from across the country are entering their ideas into the Red Cup Showdown by submitting a recipe on the Seattle's Best Coffee Facebook page or participating in one of the live coffee competitions that Seattle's Best Coffee is hosting at the California, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa state fairs.

About Seattle's Best Coffee

Seattle's Best Coffee LLC has been roasting premium coffee since 1970 and today roasts more than 20 million pounds of coffee every year and millions of cups of our coffee are served every day. A freshly-brewed cup of Seattle's Best Coffee is currently available in more than 50,000 locations including cafes, college campuses, restaurants, hotels, airlines, cruise ships, grocery stores and movie theatres. Seattle's Best Coffee is a featured brand within Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX). For more information, please visit Seattle's Best Coffee online at www.seattlesbest.com, become a member of the coffee community at www.facebook.com/SeattlesBestCoffee or follow Seattle's Best Coffee on Pinterest for unique coffee inspiration at www.pinterest.com/seattlesbest. For information about our retail franchise opportunity, please visit www.seattlesbest.com.

About Jeff Mauro

Jeff Mauro, winner of the seventh season of Food Network Star, graduated from California's Hollywood Kitchen Academy, and has worked in the food industry since high school in various roles, including line cook, caterer and chef instructor. After pursuing a career as an entertainer and comedian in Los Angeles, Jeff returned to Chicago to spend time doing what he loves: cooking. His down-to-earth personality coupled with his comic skills make a great combination in the kitchen. In his Food Network cooking show, Sandwich King, Jeff proves you can turn any meal into a sandwich and any sandwich into a delicious meal.

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