Sherri Johns, President of Whole Cup Consulting and primo organizer (along with her husband, Danny Johns) of many of the Barista competitions in the United States and Canada, is in the midst of running, judging, and fretting over the MidWest Regional Barista Competition. Sherri filled this first day report:
Submitted: 11:15 PM, Kansas City, Mo., March 28, 2003
After 56 espresso, 56 renditions of cappuccino and 56 signature drinks varying from hot to cold, shaken, stirred, or blended and even a few tepid drinks, we are surprisingly still talking coffee. As a judge, I only tasted a small amount of the total drinks that were built, but do not be impressed with that number. Be impressed with the 5 states represented here in Kansas City, Mo for the 2nd Annual Midwest Regional Barista Competition. Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois and Wisconsin were represented. On a chilly morning, 15 Baristi gathered to share coffee passion, learn new things, demonstrate skills and build friendships all around great coffee and the Midwest Regional Barista Championship.
Yesterday we arrived at The Roasterie, Inc., in Kansas City to set up the espresso machines and finalized the layout for the barista competition. Banners needed to be rerun, attendees still were signing up and the machines were getting seasoned. All going according to plan. The logistics of 3 two group machines, grinders, power, layout and flow of a competition area are all together now. All we need are Baristi. They’ll be here bright and early Friday morning.
Friday, we cover the flow of the competition, where the milk is stored, who the runners are and what to expect. Best advice given is to be you. Many brought their own music. One fellow was a swing dance instructor who flared his drinks and feet. Others chose mellow music. Whatever the tunes, the energy was high. Baristi joined the spectators on the stands before and after their turns.
Two of our judges were repeats from last year. Ellen Jordan Reidy from Amfotech, (American Food Technologies) a professional coffee and beverage taster and sensory analysis. Yours truly, (Sherri Johns, WholeCup Coffee consulting), as retail specialist and regional and US Barista Championship and WBC International Coordinator. Andrew Barnett came to this event from Santa Rosa, California is Roatmaster for his company Ecco Coffee. Andrew is also a trained chef and just completed the SCAA USBC Judges training program. Our two celebrity judges are Lauren Chapin, food critic from the Kansas City Star and Steve Cole, restaurateur who began Café Allegro, chef and professional food taster. He has been a barbeque judge among other food competitions.
At 5 pm, our top 6 Baristi were named. They will compete in the semifinals Saturday morning to see who ranks top three. From there, one more round for the top 3 scoring Baristi to determine place. Top winner will represent the Midwestern states in the semifinals of the USBC held at the Specialty Coffee Association of America conference in April, prize of grinder, sweet tamper and garner a handsome plaque and $1000 in spending money to cover expenses. Number two gets $250, plaque and tamper, and number 3 receives $100, plaque and tamper.
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| Sign welcoming the Baristi, and announcing the primary sponsors. |
| The Roasterie Inc., in Kansas City provided the venue for this competition. |
| A happy, smiling Baristi gets warmed up as another competes in the background. Is that Barry Jarrett way in the background? |
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| Emcee Danny Johns on the mike, with an unnamed judge and Sherri Johns with the stop watch. |
| A beautiful signature drink by one of the competitors. |
| Cappuccinos being built for the middle part of a competitor's session - great latte art! |
All Baristi are deemed champions and a credit to the specialty coffee industry by the panel of judges.
Adjourn until tomorrow.