This past Saturday, I was invited to be a judge at the Mock Barista Competition
held at Pikes Peak Brewing Co.
as part of Colorado Springs Craft Week
According to participant Eric Harry Nicol
of the Principal's Office
, our town's baristas haven't staged an event like this locally (something more in the realm of big national events like the barista competition at the U.S. Coffee Championships
), though we have had plenty of latte art throwdowns
And let me be the first to say I want to see more of these ... lots more ... often, please. Which is to say I had a blast and love the format of the friendly battle.
Basically, each barista (going one at a time) highlighted an individual coffee varietal inside of 20 minutes, making a clean espresso shot, then a cappuccino, and finally a specialty drink of their choice to highlight elements of the bean.
Urban Steam Coffee Bar
's Seth Fuller
showcased a Sumatran bean from the village of Aek Nauli in the Lintong region,
which he roasted a week prior. In particular, he advised us to find marshmallow and orange zest aspects in the flavor.
of Colorado Coffee Merchants
roasted an Ethiopian Mokamba coffee, aiming to highlight sweet raspberry notes up front, a fairly bitter middle, and a clean lemon finish.
Nicol worked with a Ugandan bean roasted by Switchback Coffee Roasters
, again hitting on both orange and lemon characteristics.
All competitors performed strongly, and fellow roasters in the audience (whom we passed our samples to after sipping) agreed that the trio kicked ass, proving just how good our coffee scene has gotten thanks to Third Wave
I could go on ... but instead, here's a look at some pics from the day, which hint at the artistry on display.