I’m bucking the trend and starting my review of this year’s 2008 WRBC in advance of my actual visit. I suppose it is a bit unorthodox to review the coffee at an event before I’ve even consumed it, but the line up of coffee being provided at the WRBC’s 4th machine – the other 3 are the one’s used in competition by the baristas – includes some of California’s best roasters, with shots pulled by some of these roaster’s best baristi and bariste, with their coffee also being made on the
Starbuck’s Clover 1s (so technically there are two 4th machines). The fact that all of this is just a couple of miles from my doorstep is enough to make me pee my pants in anticipation of that much coffee consumption.
Now unless you’re particularly tuned into the coffee world, you may not have even heard of this particular competition or of barista competitions in general. In short, they are a little like the Iron Chef meets espresso making – a timed competition in which the competing barista is judged, technically and in terms of the senses, on 4 shots of espresso, 4 cappuccinos and 4 signature drinks. At this point, the competition season is in full swing with the winner of the WRBC going on to compete at the U.S Barista Championship in Minnesota in May and the winner of that competition moving on to the World Barista Championship in Copenhagen later in June. You can read more about this phenomenon on the WRBC website. There’s also a good description on The Shot and some links to videos of the top 2007 WBC competitors on ZacharyZachary organized here.
Now I’m not going to speculate about whether barista competitions should be the next Olympic Sport or will be the next big cult hit for the Food Network (hmmm, maybe I just did?). My focus will be to cover the event from a coffee drinker’s perspective, both the coffee and the classes that offer coffee enthusiasts better insight into the industry and enjoyment of coffee. Oh, and in both a feat of self-promotion and full-disclosure of my involvement, I should add that I’ll be live-blogging the event from 12 until 2:30 PM this Friday, March 28th.