i spent a huge amount of time at the Northwest Regional Barista Championships while at NASCORE. in part, i wanted to cheer folks on. but largely i wanted to observe, to be a voyeur, and to be inspired.
and i was.
the level of professionalism... the passion... the committment...
it was incredible.
and best of all - i got to taste a bunch of the drinks. brilliant!!
Aaron DeLazzer judging. The judges were amazing. Not only did they consume a huge amount of coffee - they did so while keeping total poker faces and doing a fantastic job of evaluating the work of the baristi. And they're volunteers...
Billy Wilson of Crema preps backstage (love the polka dot cups!) and then serves his drinks.
Billy's signature drink was a "Absinthe Americano". He poured espresso into a cup, placed it on a chromed absinthe saucer, placed a half sugar cube on an absinthe "strainer" and then poured hot water that had been infused with anise over it. Nice...
Bronwen Serna didn't compete - instead spending her time judging and busing tables. Here she recovers from almost dropping the bus tray.
Cassie from Zoka doing her patter - and serving drinks. The Zoka folks were seriously prepared.
Heather Perry from Coffee Klatch was, as usual, a total polished pro. Here she serves her pumpkin specialty drink.
Jay is the man. He is the nicest, most enjoyable and most supportive person. Here, he gets ready to go on stage.
Jon Lewis from Doma was the Jesse Jackson of the barista comp. Philosophy - beat poetry - hand cranked grinders - big beat... he had it all! Here he serves his cappuccino and then his carbonated barley espresso specialty drink.
Jen from Zoka was so calm, so focused, so smooth and polished... big things are coming for her.
Eventual winner Kyle Larson from Zoka pouring his blueberry specialty drinks.
And serving the drinks to the judges. For what it's worth... I tasted this drink and it was rockin'.
Kyle serving his (awesome) cappuccinos.
The aforementioned cappuccinos.
As I mentioned above - the Zoka folks had it going on. They were organized and practiced and polished... total pros. Here's Team Zoka revving it up.
The finalists.... waiting to find out who won.
Congratulations to Kyle, Mark Pfaff and Cassie. You all are seriously inspiring!