Interview: 2009 USBC Semifinalist Clancy Rose (Cuvee Coffee Roasters)

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Barista Austin

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 decided to compete for the American coffee crown. Clancy Rose works for Cuvee Coffee Roasters in Austin and is the 2009 South Central Regional Barista Champion.

Did anything surprise you about the regional competition?
No. It was only our second one. It was our second year doing the regional, and my boss was hosting it as well. We learned a lot about hosting competitions as a company, and just getting more comfortable with eating and it ran a lot smoother this year. Nothing surprised me. It seemed to go really well, and home crowd of friends and family was fun.

Do you plan to change your approach at all for the USBC? If so, how?
I don’t. I changed a few songs. A few of the songs were just appropriate for coming home to Austin and my situation at the time. Music is probably the only significant change from the regional to the USBC. I’m using the same coffee, same presentation, same sig drink. I figure it worked for me there, so do it again.

What’s your goal at the USBC?
This year I would love to make finals. I won the regional. I’m an automatic semifinalist, so I don’t want to stop there. This year was a pretty difficult year for preparation for me because we moved from Houston to Austin two weeks ago.

What’s your approach when choosing the music to play during your performance?
Fun, something you can laugh to because it’s a stressful moment and you don’t want to stress them out anymore. We were relocating. My training facility was not hooked up and we had to move the roastery. I wish we could have prepared a little bit more, but that’s also partially my fault. Finals this year would be my goal.

What’s your training schedule been like leading up to this?
I was training every day. I used to be able to schedule it to where I was doing roasting and everything was done, shipping was done by two in the afternoon. I would have two or three hours in the afternoon to train, and Dan, our sales guy, is a USBC judge. He’s a guy who was real good to train with. That was an everyday thing, then a couple things happened. One, I went to Panama for a week about a month ago and moving to Austin. We moved into the new space and set up an impromptu training facility in the corner of the roasting warehouse. I’ve been able to train again every day for the last week.

Was there a coffeehouse you didn’t know about before the regional that you wanted to try?
Coffee Cartel, though that’s another region, we hosted them at the same time as us. Double Shot in Oklahoma. He was competing in that as well, but all the shops in Austin I knew because it’s my hometown.

What’s your approach in choosing the music during your performance?
Energetic and rock and roll. Kind of make it a little bit more exciting than it has been. I heard a competitor last year say about his music that he was sick of sitting and watching people perform like it was in an elevator for fifteen minutes. I’m trying to eliminate that and put in some exciting rock and roll and try to get the DJ to play it loud.


Joshua Lurie

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

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[…] not only hosted the 2009 South Central Regional Barista Competition (1,2), but one of its baristas, Clancy Rose, took the title. Even it it wasn’t this coffee that won, I figured some of that winning […]

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