The United States Barista Competition, sponsored by the Specialty Coffee Association of America and hosted this year by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, drew thousands to the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center earlier this month.
Hundreds of skilled baristas, plus the regional winners from the Great Lakes, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Western Divisions tested their skills brewing espresso at the competition in California. This year, the 2003 winner, Heather Perry, of San Dimas, California won the contest for a second time. The competition required baristas to pour twelve shots - four straight shots of espresso, four cappuccinos and four original, signature drinks.
Perry, who was awarded a $1,000 cash prize and an all expense paid trip to the World Barista Championship in Tokyo next year was extremely excited about winning. “There was a lot of tough competition at this year’s event,” she said. “After months of long nights and weekend practice sessions making espresso, I’m really excited to see that my coffee creations are receiving national recognition.”
The judges at the competition graded the baristas on taste, presentation, skills and overall impression. Many of the patterns you see baristas use to finish espresso based drinks are created with free-pours. While free-pours are not specifically judged at the competition, they are considered the signature of the true barista.
So if you’re a barista, or just aspire to be one, check out our Second Annual Latte Art Contest. There are just a few more days to enter. And while you’re not going to win a trip to Tokyo, you do have a chance at winning a Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine. We’re looking for a video entry of your creation and will be judging the entry not only on artistic appeal, but most original video.
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