Yesterday was the beginning of a regional barista and brewer's competition weekend in Minneapolis. At first thought, many customers don't realize that coffee has competitions. Their next question is often, "So what do they do? Make coffee?"
Yes. If you drill it down to the simplest- yes, they do make coffee. But they have to make a lot of coffee and the baristas have to present it well. There are competitions in nearly all industries and coffee is no exception. This weekend's regional is the Big Central, comprised of the North Central states and the South Central states. It's actually two regionals taking place at one time. Once the season of regionals run through, the top two finishers move onto the national competition.
In the barista competition, each person has 15 minutes to make four espressos, four cappuccinos, and four signature drinks (also needs to be espresso-based). Within that time frame, they are also expected to keep a most meticulously clean workspace, talk about the coffee(s) that they are using, and be mindful of their customer service behavior. Every detail, down to the spoon the judges use to stir their espresso to the type of water carafe used, is thought out and pondered over. Signature drinks often read like a cocktail. For example, Shannon Steele-Knuckles, head roaster of Passion House Coffee Roasters, had a drink of coconut water, nutmeg, lavender, rose hips, orange peel, and golden raisins.
Sprudge, the specialty coffee industry's online magazine and official media partner for the event, has done a full recap on their site.
It is an absolute pleasure to listen to the professional baristas present their coffees. You can catch the live stream here or you can follow @sprudgelive and the hashtag #bigcentral for the latest updates.
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