Interview: 2009 USBC Competitor Joseph Mains (Cartel Coffee Lab)

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Barista Phoenix

Photo courtesy of Joseph Mains

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 Joseph Mains from Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe, Arizona, a Southwest Regional Barista Competition Finalist and a contender for the American coffee crown.

Josh Lurie: Did anything surprise you about your regional competition?

Joseph Mains: Yes, I was surprised to see most of the specialty drinks having so little to do with coffee.

JL: Will adjust your approach for the United States Barista Championship? If so, how?

JM: Yes, dramatically. I will pay much more attention to speaking about the coffee–roast profile, notes, basically telling the judges what to think instead of letting them decide what they think of my performance and the drinks I prepare.

JL: What is your goal at the USBC?

JM: To meet fellow coffee Trekkies.

JL: What did you learn by competing at your regional?

JM: Not to enter a latte art throwdown with silence.

JL: What’s your training schedule like until the USBC?

JM: Wake up, drink my espresso and make some notes on it, drink an espresso at Stumptown before i compete, put on some pump-up music, compete. Drink with my old friends. Repeat.

JL: What’s a coffeehouse you didn’t know about before your regional competition that you now plan to visit?

JM: Caffe Medici, Austin, Texas–except, I’ve already gone to visit!

JL: What’s your approach in choosing the music that plays during your performance?

JL: I always try to play something orgasmic.


Joshua Lurie

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

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