Interview: 2009 USBC Competitor Robbie Britt (Zoka Coffee)

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Barista Seattle

Photo courtesy of Robbie Britt

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 Robbie Britt from Zoka Coffee Roaster in Seattle, a Northwest Regional Barista Competition Finalist and a contender for the American coffee crown:

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

Robbie Britt: The fact that I even made the finals, there were a lot of great baristas present.

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

RB: I will definitely know my coffee a lot better. With the help of Drew Billups, our Roastmaster, we came up with a new espresso blend that I’m pretty pumped about. I will basically just focus more attention towards the coffee, that’s what it’s all about anyway isn’t it? The coffee.

JL: What is your goal at the USBC?

RB: My goal is to represent the coffee to the best of my ability. In doing so, my hope is that attention goes to all the people that made the coffee the best it could possibly be before it got to me. I also confess at the risk of sounding selfish, that I want to advance as far as possible, I am a very competitive person by nature. 🙂

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

RB: That I have a lot to learn. The feedback from the judges was and is a great tool in going back to the training lab to work out the kinks. Not just for competition sake, but to also be able and apply the knowledge to how I approach the bar as well.

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

RB: Basically the closer we get to the USBC, the more time I will have to practice. Jodi, Brett, Louie, and myself are going to Oslo for the Norwegian Barista Championship. That to say the least is going to give us a fresh perspective on aproaching the competition.

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

RB: Satellite in Tacoma. That place was killer!!!

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

RB: Basically something that fits me. I am pretty laid back so I picked instrumental music that fades in the background, so I am not tempted to sing during the competition. There are a lot of great jams out there, and it’s hard not to get into the music, so I wanted to pick something that wouldn’t be distracting for me.


Joshua Lurie

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

Blog Comments

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I toyed with the idea of a home coffee roaster. It might be fun, but I think the gimmickiness of it might wear off after realizing how much better it can be done by those who are experts. Fun article.



Alright Robbie. Still rooting for you in Cape. Didn’t realize how much i missed you, and the barista world.

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