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Southeast Barista Competition Seeks Espresso Experts
Press release from Specialty Coffee Association of America, Date: December 16, 2003
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First Southeast Regional Barista Competition Takes Place Jan. 24 – 25 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Winner Will Go On to Contend for the U.S. Barista Championship Title in Atlanta Next Spring

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. and LONG BEACH, Calif. U.S.A. (Dec. 9, 2003)---Calling all baristas! The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), in conjunction with the U.S. Barista Championship committee, is searching for Southeastern espresso-making experts with talent and flair.  The first annual Southeast Regional Barista Competition, hosted by Counter Culture Coffee, will take place Jan. 24 – 25, 2004, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at A Southern Season.

The Southeast Regional Barista Competition encourages and recognizes the professional achievement in the art and skill of espresso beverage preparation and service. The competition is open to all baristas from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia and Florida. Contestants will dazzle judges with top-quality drink preparation and service.  Each challenger will prepare one espresso, one cappuccino and one specialty coffee drink for each of the four judges in a 15-minute window. Only two competitors per coffeehouse may participate. The event is open to the public.

Cynthia Chang, marketing director of North Carolina-based Counter Culture Coffee, one of the nation’s top-rated specialty coffee roasters, said, “Passionate baristas put a lot of time and patience into working towards perfection.  It’s important to recognize the talent and skill that goes into making great espresso.”  Chang is the Southeast liaison for the competition.

Ted Lingle, executive director of SCAA, said that more than 32% of U.S. adults regularly purchase coffee at a coffeehouse, where baristas call home. “With so many Americans purchasing their desired beverage at a local coffeehouse, they’ve helped to elevate and showcase the profession of being a barista in America. Today there are an estimated 140,000 baristas in the U.S.,” said Lingle.

The winner of the Southeast Regional Barista Competition will go on to compete in the U.S. Barista Championship at SCAA’s 16th Annual Conference & Exhibition in Atlanta, April 23 - 26, 2004. Baristas from across the country will compete and demonstrate the art of espresso making, creating some of the world’s finest coffee concoctions while vying for the coveted title.

To participate, contact Michelle Campbell, 562-642-4100, mcampbell@scaa.org.

About the SCAA

Founded in 1982, SCAA is the world's largest coffee trade association with over 2,500 member companies. SCAA members are located in over 40 countries and represent every segment of the specialty coffee industry, from coffee growers to coffee roasters and retailers. The SCAA's mission is to be the recognized authority on specialty coffee, providing a common forum for the development and promotion of coffee excellence and sustainability. The SCAA's dedication to excellence in coffee is realized through the setting of quality standards for the industry; conducting research on coffee, equipment and perfection of craft; and providing education, training, resources and business services for members. The SCAA's annual conference is held in a different U.S. city each year and is the coffee industry's largest gathering and exhibition.

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