Most weekends over the past few months have found me glued to the computer screen, turning my wife into a sports widow. I’m not talking about March Madness either. I’ve been watching the US Regional Barista Competitions, which the brilliant organizers (unlike the organizers of the Oscars) have figured out how to live stream to the masses with the ability to comment and discuss in a chat window alongside the video stream.
The ten regional competitions have now wrapped up and everyone is eagerly awaiting the US Barista Championship, which takes place April 15-18, 2010 at the Anaheim Convention Center. I’ll be packing up the family and heading down there myself. If you want to read more about what these competitions entail, you could always read the rules (good for insomnia) or take a look back at the Western Regional which I covered when it was held in Berkeley two years ago.
But talk is cheap. That’s why this year, I’m taking the gloves off and throwing my hat in the ring. That’s right Pete Licata and Team Verve. Look out Intelli wunderkinds from the Western and the Great Lakes Region. Stumptown supporters from the West Coast or like Danielle Glasky from the East better duck and cover. And everyone from Billy Wilson to Lem Butler (and those Counter Culture wielding baristas up and down the East Coast) might as well just pack up their portafilters and go home. Man Seeking Coffee will be competing this year. I plan to take home that tamper topped trophy and pick up that ticket to London where I’ll compete in the 2010 WBC.
As an independent, I know my journey will be tough. That’s why I’ve planned a few surprises. Without giving away too many of my tightly held secrets, this year, the judges will get to taste the long touted effects of sous-vide as a method of roasting (or should I say gently stewing) coffee. And in honor of Earthday, I will be packing up the MSC-mobile with fully compostable demitasses and stemware. At this point I’m just looking for someone to let me log some hours on their Nuova Simonelli Aurelia, and my training regimen will be complete. Oh, and James Hoffman, are you free next week to coach?