Competition season is ramping up again in the coffee world. The South Central Regional Barista Competition is already in the books, and nine more regional competitions are forthcoming. Locally, the Western Regional Barista Competition runs February 26-28, with top baristas from California, Alaska and Hawaii vying for a coveted slot in the Semi-Finals of the 2010 United States Barista Championship. The marquee event is held April 15-18 in Anaheim, in conjunction with the SCAA’s annual exposition.
Here’s a quick rundown of a barista competition, which is free, open to the public and offers opportunities to taste complimentary coffee on the traditional Fourth Machine. Three espresso machines are dedicated for the competition. You’ll find three identical coffee bars, each with a separate judges’ table. Each barista has 15 minutes to serve 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos and 4 signature drinks. The coffee is the barista’s choice. So is the signature espresso beverage, which is judged on taste, presentation and creativity.
Last year, Nick Griffith from Intelligentsia Coffee won the WRBC crown. He’s taking a break from competition in 2010, but 2009 finalists Ryan Willbur (Intelligentsia), Devin Pedde (Intelligentsia) and Jared Truby (Santa Cruz’s Verve Coffee Roasters) will compete at this year’s WRBC.