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. Here’s a contender for the American coffee crown. Greg Lefcourt from Ozo Coffee Co. in Boulder, Colorado is 2009 Mountain Regional Barista Champion.
Josh Lurie: Did anything surprise you about your regional competition?
Greg Lefcourt: I was sort of hoping for more participants from every state in the region. I know you’re up there Idaho and Montana! Come down next year and rock with us! Nice turn out though, being so close to the end of holiday season. Fun!
JL: Will you adjust your approach for the United States Barista Championship? If so, how?
GL: I have been training almost daily for the past 3-4 weeks. Still getting some powder turns in, but pulling 12-hour days often. I incorporate elements of my routine into my bar shifts and that helps keep the ball rolling. I am fine-tuning as much as possible.
JL: What is your goal at the USBC?
GL: I want to meet the U.S. Barista community, perform well, represent the elevated Mountain Region! I want the coffee world to see Boulder as a spot on the map for quality.
JL: What did you learn by competing at your regional?
GL: Consistency is key. BUT, I must raise my scores to even contend with the big dogs. I have improved many aspects in my routine and hope to learn more from fellow competitors at the USBC for future comps and daily barista work. There is never enough information or learning with coffee. It is so deep and complex, I love it!
JL: What’s your training schedule like until the USBC?
GL: Work 5 days a week on bar. Eat lunch. Train, practice, run through the routine for 4-6 hours each day. Days off I get to Vail and ride some snow to clear my head, unless there’s good powder I’m back into the shop and on the 2nd bar pulling shots.
JL: What’s a coffeehouse you didn’t know about before your regional competition that you now plan to visit?
GL: Coal Creek Coffee in Laramie, WY. Their whole crew is amped and ready to get after it. Great energy and talent. Loaded Joe’s in Vail and Avon too. Nice guys, ski bummin’ and coffee slingin’ is the life!
JL: What’s your approach in choosing the music that plays during your performance?
GL: I got some nice funky grooves to get me flowing. Horn stabs, snare rhythms, nice basslines, should be on point.