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 Devin Pedde from Intelligentsia Coffee in Los Angeles, a Western Regional Barista Competition Finalist and a contender for the American coffee crown.
Josh Lurie: Did anything surprise you about the WRBC?
Devin Pedde: I was very impressed with the performances of the first time competitors. People were looking very polished and smooth…not an easy thing to do. I certainly wasn’t that put together my first time competing. It was great to see first timers Renee Teichen and Sara Peterson get to the finals. They both did such a great job.
JL: Will adjust your approach for the United States Barista Championship? If so, how?
DP: I’m not looking to change too much about it. My coffee is great and I’m excited about sharing it with the judges again. There may be a few tricks up my sleeve, but I’ll be keeping those under wraps.
JL: What is your goal at the USBC?
DP: To present a delicious coffee, hopefully make the finals, have fun and hang out with friends.
JL: What did you learn by competing at the WRBC?
DP: Learning how to relax a bit while competing was a big one for me. It makes the whole thing so much more enjoyable if you aren’t worried about it. Competition is always a rude awakening to the things that you aren’t so good at. I learned A LOT of those things. Time to practice!
JL: What’s your training schedule like until the USBC?
DP: I’m pretty busy at the coffee bar so as usual the trainings fall in whenever possible. Many late nights and early mornings are in the future.
JL: What’s a coffeehouse you didn’t know about before the WRBC that you now plan to visit?
DP: I’d like to visit the Abbey Coffee Lounge in Santa Cruz. Sara Peterson (WRBC Finalist) works there and I’ve heard good things. Everyone from there I met was very sweet and they use Verve coffee which is always a good thing.
JL: What’s your approach in choosing the music that plays during your performance?
DP: My approach? Well…in the past it has always been last minute decisions. You need music that will keep people interested throughout. The crowd can’t give you a score, but it is a factor for sure. I’ve got a few tracks in mind. I’m keeping them a secret until Portland.