Interview: 2009 USBC Competitor Colin Whitcomb (Alterra Coffee)

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Barista Milwaukee

Photo courtesy of Colin Whitcomb

From March 5-8, the Oregon Convention Center in Portland is hosting the 2009 United States Barista Championship. Leading up to the USBC, I’m showcasing baristas who decided to compete for the American coffee crown. Meet Colin Whitcomb from Alterra Coffee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

1. Did anything surprise you about your regional competition?
I was surprised by the fact that five cafes were represented in the finals; pleasantly surprised.

2. Will adjust your approach for the United States Barista Championship? If so, how?
I will adjust by attempting to have my grind better adjusted, and my signature drink more balanced. I will bring the same energy and the same focus though.

3. What is your goal at the USBC?
Score higher than my regional score, affect as many people.

4. What did you learn by competing at your regional?
I learned that our community is getting smarter, savvier and deeper. I learned that I’m less nervous every time, and that I’m never really alone up there. My love for coffee and barista’s in general was only further solidified.

5. What’s your training schedule like until the USBC?
Train every free moment around work, but not to the point of exhaustion: I need something in the bank for Portland.

6. What’s a coffeehouse you didn’t know about before your regional competition that you now plan to visit?
The Ohio scene just exploded, I gotta check that out.

7. What’s your approach in choosing the music that plays during your performance?
Warm vocals you can sing to, songs people would dance to at a party, music that affects people like a flower, feel-good music, songs that make me happy. I like a lot of songs instead of only 2-3.


Joshua Lurie

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

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