For those of you who don't know:
The Western Regional Barista Competition strives to foster the production of quality coffee, encourage creativity and innovation, and create an regional, national, and international community of specialty coffee professionals.My favorite thing to watch are the different techniques the baristas use to dose and tamp their shots. If you're into that sort of thing, it's really interesting to see the differences in technique and the complete comfort they have when working with these machines. Back in my barista days, I could steam milk like nobody's business. But the grinder? Trial and error, my friends. Trial and error.
Each contestant prepares and serves 3 espresso beverages for each of four sensory judges...one espresso, one cappuccino, and one "signature" drink of their own creation. Competitors have only 15 minutes to prepare all twelve drinks while being observed by four sensory skills and two technical judges. Competitors are judged based on drink taste, presentation, technical skills and cleanliness.
Ritual's Chris Baca, my favorite, got first place. I'm sure his cherry-lime-cheesecake signature drink had a lot to do with his win (aside from his stellar technique, of course) which, as I've heard from friends of mine who've tasted it, is super delish.
Here's a list of today's winners:
1st: Chris Baca, Ritual, San Francisco, CA
2nd: Kyle Glanville, Intelligentsia, Los Angeles, CA
3rd: Heather Perry, Coffee Klatch, San Dimas, CA
And I would be remiss to neglect giving mad props to the last guy who competed today from Intelligentsia (sorry dude, I didn't catch your name, my bad) for including Snoop Dogg's Sensual Seduction in his music mix. That's espresso-makin' music right there, baby. Aww yeah.
(Photo courtesy of WRBC's Flickr page.)