Interview: Barista Michael Richardson (Kean Coffee)

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Photo courtesy of Michael Richardson


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 Richardson from Kean Coffee in Newport Beach, 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 Richardson: I think it will be fun to see the various styles and techniques other than what we do at our shop.

JL: How did you become interested in coffee?

MR: Everyone drinks coffee, once I found specialty coffee, I fell in love.

JL: What’s your first coffee memory?

MR: In high school, my friends and I would hang out at the local Diedrich’s Coffee during lunch and after school!

JL: Do you have an espresso mentor? If so, who are they and what did they teach you?

MR: I have had the pleasure to work with some of the best in the world, every one of them has a different favorite drink and several techniques. I love to pass these learnings on to others.

JL: What did you do to prepare for the competition?

MR: Besides working on bar everyday, I have been practicing with various different signature drinks.

JL: Outside of your coffeehouse, what’s your favorite coffeehouse in the U.S., and what do you like about it?

MR: I haven’t been able to travel as much as I would like. I loved Diedrich’s Coffee and now I have the pleasure working with the great Martin Diedrich. Intelligentsia has been a very nice treat for me when I’m in that area.

JL: Other than yourself, who do you think has a good shot at becoming WRBC champ?

MR: Everyone competing has the potential to be great. Best of luck to Philip Kim and Nick Griffith and everyone else.

JL: If you didn’t work in the coffee industry, what would you do for a living?

MR: I love to work with people, I would either be a bartender or a chef. Eventually I would want to mix those and specialty coffee.

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Go Mike! Hope you do well.

Tip to webmaster: resizing images with HTML works very poorly! Mike looks like a funhouse mirror now.

Yay Mike!

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O.C. barista competing today in L.A. java event - Fast Food Maven - OCRegister.com

[…] Karen Diedrich, co-owner of Newport Beach-based Kean Coffee, reports that Michael practiced for hours Friday night in preparation for this afternoon’s espresso challenge: “Martin and I watched him practice last night at our new barista training lab in Costa Mesa, and he did a great job, and has created a lovely signature drink using our Harrar as a single origin espresso. We’re really excited for him to be getting out there under the hot lights!”.  Read a Q&A with Barista Michael at FoodGPS blog. […]

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