Java Men (And Women): The Western Regional Barista Competition, Held in L.A. This Weekend
If you're the sort of person who spends your free time stalking Intelligentsia baristas, hanging out at cupping events, waiting for your next caffeine fix at LAMILL, and longing for the day when you can pull espresso shots from your very own La Marzocco, then you have someplace to be this weekend. The Western Regional Barista Competition will be held this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, February 26-28, at Siren Studios in Hollywood.
Sponsored by Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and organized by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, the competition will determine the best barista from the western US. 35 baristas from California and Hawaii will work their high octane magic for a group of 7 judges. The baristas will each have 15 minutes to prepare and serve 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos and 4 signature freestyle espresso-based drinks. All drinks will be made on a Nuova Simonelli Aurelia, the official espresso machine of the competition. So order a double shot and see if your favorite local barista will make the cut.
This weekend's competition is one of 10 regional barista competitions taking place across the country. The winners of each contest go on to compete in the United States Barista Championship at the SCAA's Exposition, held April 15 - 18 in Anaheim. The winner of the U.S. Barista Championship will compete in the 2010 World Barista Championship, to be held in London this June. Last year, Gwilym Davies won the WBC title; the 2009 Western Barista title went to Intelligentsia's Nick
If you're seriously into this, you can take a workshop instead of just standing there chugging macchiatos. SCAA will also be hosting a Skill Building Workshop from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., on Feb. 26 and 27 at Siren Studios. The classes include an introduction to coffee cupping. If you haven't been to a coffee cupping, imagine something halfway between your morning cup of joe and a meth lab tour. A little hint for the uninitiated: professional cuppers do not drink all of that coffee. They spit. You gotta sleep sometime.
Siren Studios on Sunset: 6063 W Sunset Blvd, Hollywood; (323) 467-3559.