Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v03n13)
Coffee Corner - Cleanliness and Godliness - by Heidi Huff
posted: Jun. 30, 2006
Cleanliness and Godliness
Do you know just how serious the career of a barista can become? Until recently I thought I had a clue but as it turns out, I had no idea. In the passing months I joined a gaggle of Hubbard and Cravens' employees to form a Barista Team. Yes, that's right, a team. You see, the world of a barista is exactly that, a world.
By that I mean that there is an opportunity to win the title of World Barista Champion. That title is, of course, preceded by the title of U.S. (or other respective country) Barista Champion - which may or may not be preceded by Regional Barista Champion, of which there are 10 in the United States. This year the winner of the United States Barista Championship hailed from the Great Lakes Region, in which Indiana is included. He went on to place third out of 39 in the World Barista Championship.
Our team of baristi was formed with a much less formal intention: to challenge other local baristi in a friendly but competitive match of barista skills. As of yet, no other coffee shops have taken us up on our proposition. We're still here holding our breath. It is our far-off-in-the-future hope to send a barista on to the regional level of competition. The USBC in Charlotte, North Carolina recently occurred in April, followed by the WBC in Berne, Switzerland in May. This leaves us plenty of practice time to enter next year. (Yeah, right!)
In the USBC and WBC, the competitors must supply their own blend of espresso and create their own specialty drinks. Each barista makes 12 drinks total: four each of espresso, cappuccino, and specialty. The drinks are then served to a host of judges who score everything from cleanliness to godliness (at least they may as well). This is serious business, folks.
On July 8th at 10 a.m., Hubbard and Cravens in Broad Ripple will host our own Barista Championship (affectionately referred to as the Nerd Olympics). Participants will be competing against their fellow H&C baristi. I believe we will all be using Hubbard and Cravens espresso and are not creating specialty drinks but will, rather, feature latte art. We will most likely not create 12 drinks each, nor will there be more than a handful of judges. We will be judged on cleanliness, amongst other factors, such as drink appearance and taste. Godliness and the like will be left out of the scoring equation.
Interested in learning more about the USBC and WBC? Visit the Specialty Coffee Association of America website at www.scaa.org.