From March 5-8, the Oregon Convention Center in Portland is hosting the United States Barista Championship. Leading up to the USBC, I’m showcasing baristas who placed in the Top 6 in their respective region and decided to compete for greater glory. Meet Amber Sather from Brooklyn, the Northeast Regional Barista Champion and a contender for the American coffee crown.
Josh Lurie: Did anything surprise you about your regional competition?
Amber Sather: This is my 5th competition “season”, so I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily surprised by anything. But this regional was a bit different for me because this year I’m competing as an independent Barista, as opposed to representing one company. Also, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions were held together, which was a first time thing for me.
JL: Will adjust your approach for the United States Barista Championship? If so, how?
AS: I’m not going to change a whole lot, but will definitely take into account the feedback I received from some of the judges. My coffee is going to stay the same, which I’m very happy about.
JL: What is your goal at the USBC?
AS: Making the finals is the first goal….its a hard thing to do. If that happens…well then I’ll re-assess my goals.
JL: What did you learn by competing at your regional?
AS: I learned that I have many people who love and support me in my life.
JL: What’s your training schedule like until the USBC?
AS: After the competition, I had to take a breather…but I don’t have much time left! So I’m doing run-throughs and getting feedback from my “fake” judges.
JL: What’s a coffeehouse you didn’t know about before your regional competition that you now plan to visit?
AS: I learned about Blue State Coffee in New Haven, Connecticut. The manager, Benjamin, took 5th in the Northeast region and is also competing at the USBC this year.
JL: What’s your approach in choosing the music that plays during your performance?
AS: I got some suggestions from people who I feel are into really great music that I like but would never find on my own. It is a different feel for me, but I really like it!