Proliferator

This blog really wants to stand at a bar and drink his espresso.

Archive for March 2009

USBC 2009

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For once I am not displeased that one of my predictions was wrong: Mike Phillips has won the US Barista Championship. I previously mentioned that I was afraid that the coffee would be the deciding factor; not necessarily a bad thing in general, but definitely antithetical to a barista competition. It appears that I was completely off my rocker when I posited that. Good.

Good thing #2: Mr. Phillips regularly works the bar, and trains the baristi at the Broadway Intelligentsia (in Chicago!), which means that he’s directly impacting drink quality. I have nothing against people who aren’t line baristi in competition, but that kind of ability has a more immediate impact when it is used to serve customers.

It is┬átroubling that most of the barista talent appears to be concentrated in the Intelligentsia organization. This is good for Intelli, and good for Intelli’s customers, but indicative of a disparity in how the barista profession (which is still emerging in this country) is treated within coffee companies.

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Written by Nick

8 March, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Posted in Coffee

The USBC is Happing Now and I Should Probably Write About It

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Prediction: Scott Lucey to win. This might be an awfully silly prediction as he was scheduled this morning and I haven’t seen his performance, but I had his coffee at the GLRBC and I don’t think it’s beatable. Unless he screws up, I think he’s got it.

Which raises an interesting point. There are baristi out there that I’ve seen do really inventive things with their competition time. Jesse Crouse used pistachio butter (yum). Mike Phillips split his shots into parts for the signature drink. But what it seems to come down to is how good the coffee itself is. In the aftermath of the GLRBC presentation ceremony, the Intelli roasting crew seemed to be more disappointed that the Intelli competitors. I’m guessing is that they knew they got out-sourced by Alterra. Or Alterra got really lucky finding this coffee. The main point I’m trying to make is that this competition now seems to depend more on the sourcing and roasting that the barista. Yes, the barista has to pick the coffee, but having tasted some of the competitors’ coffee (incomplete sample, I know), Lucey’s stood out. A lot.

Written by Nick

7 March, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Posted in Coffee