From January 23-25, top baristas from California and Hawaii will converge on Los Angeles to compete at the Western Regional Barista Competition. The winner scores a coveted slot in the Semi-Finals of the 2009 United States Barista Championship. Michael Porter from Anazao Coffee in Imperial, California, is one barista you’ll find competing at Western Regional Barista Competition at downtown L.A.’s Spring Arts Tower.
Josh Lurie: Why did you decide to compete in the WRBC?
Michael Porter: To improve technique.
JL: How did you become interested in coffee?
MP: I started drinking coffee simply for the caffeine, but eventually it evolved into more of a hobby I suppose.
JL: What’s your first coffee memory?
MP: Watching my dad fill his thermos every morning before heading out to work.
JL: Do you have an espresso mentor? If so, who are they and what did they teach you?
MP: My dad first introduced me to espresso but my boss Ozzie Ortiz was the one who educated me about its specific qualities.
JL: What did you do to prepare for the competition?
MP: Practice basic technique.
JL: Outside of your coffeehouse, what’s your favorite coffeehouse in the U.S., and what do you like about it?
MP: Coffee Klatch, just cause.
JL: Other than yourself, who do you think has a good shot at becoming WRBC champ?
MP: I dunno.
JL: If you didn’t work in the coffee industry, what would you do for a living?
MP: Well I don’t plan on staying in the coffee industry forever, therefore I’m working on my B.A. in media and audio production.