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. Osvaldo “Ozzie” Ortiz from Anazao Coffee in Imperial 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?
Osvaldo Ortiz: Become an active member of the industry and not just another coffee shop or just another “barista.”
JL: How did you become interested in coffee?
OO: A series of very fortunate events.
JL: What’s your first coffee memory?
OO: Spending hours at a coffee shop, reading and actually being able to focus.
JL: Do you have an espresso mentor? If so, who are they and what did they teach you?
OO: Heather Perry, Coffee Klatch
JL: What did you do to prepare for the competition?
OO: Spend a lot of time making cappuccinos and espresso, a lot of time.
JL: Outside of your coffeehouse, what’s your favorite coffeehouse in the U.S., and what do you like about it?
OO: Coffee Klatch in San Dimas.
JL: Other than yourself, who do you think has a good shot at becoming WRBC champ?
OO: Don’t know.
JL: If you didn’t work in the coffee industry, what would you do for a living?
OO: Working in a restaurant.