Simon Fell > Its just code > WRBC 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Chris Baca of Ritual Coffee Roasters
Last weekend was the 2007 Western Region Barista Competition, held in sunny Petaluma. We went up sunday to watch the finalists in action. There seemed to be a good turn out of spectators, more than last year i think. Both Heather Perry and Eton Tsuno made the finals again this year, and the Ritual posse also did great with 2 finalists with Chris Baca and Crystal Yeaw, (and just like last year, Ritual had a big crowd of supporters cheering them on), Nick Griffith and Kyle Glanville being the other 2 finalists.
Strong performances all around led to what we were told was a really close final scores (for some reason the scoring is not public), and Heather Perry took first spot again, Kyle Glanville took second, and Chris Baca took 3rd, congrat's to all. Single origin coffee's made a strong showing with 3 of the finalists going the single origin route, including both the Ritual competitors (compared to last year, when i can only remember a single competitor in the entire competition using a single origin coffee), big props to the folks going the SO route and trying to make the coffee the forefront of the competition. I say this, because the format of the competition strikes as a little odd, so much of the score is tied up in presentation, service, the speil and technical aspects. I say its odd, because if you've seen on of these 15 minute sessions, you'll know it bares absolutely no resemblance to the real world coffee experience, whether it be at a high end restaurant, or at one of the top notch coffee shops that these barista's work at.
Logistics this year seemed better, at least for the crowd, the addition of the camera and projector screen meant it was actually possible to see in pretty good detail exactly what was going on with the drink preparation (at one point you could clearly see one of the competitors had an off-level tamp, something that probably cost them technical points). ESI who provide the machines also had a GS3 there which I spent some time drooling over, I can't wait for it to be finally available here in the US (yes, I'm jealous that Teme already has his GS3), finally one last thing, the event is primarily sponsored by local coffee roasters, yet you can't buy beans there, it seems like such a wasted opportunity.