1. Taking stock in the a.m.
2. Morning levity + photo bomb from LA Intelligentsia girl (tom foolery before the full weight of what's to come hits).
3. Dialing in time on the bar pre-competition time slot
4. Dialing in tasting, thinking, and strategizing
5. More tasting, thinking (and now) worrying
6. Break before showtime, visit with former colleagues and competitors
7. Instagram video distractions
8. Backstage staging (controlled chaos)
9. Even Jesus wanted a little more time when he was Walking Spanish Down the Hall
10. Moments before showtime (comp time).
For those who don't know, U.S. regional barista competition (6 regions in all) is a time for baristas to excel, shine, cry, reach and potentially fall in an effort to rise to the top by making three espresso based drinks (times 4) for four sensory judges under the watchful eye of two technical judges, a 'god' judge, and a time keeper judge. The three espresso drinks are (i) an espresso, (ii) classic cappuccino, and (iii) a signature drink -all made in the span of 15 minutes. The players are judged on the taste of the drinks, their technique throughout and their presentation -all scored out of an available 700+ points. For example, participants are given 6 points for wearing an apron (or the negative of same for not wearing same). It's like an oral exam for a barista. The top six in each region have an opportunity to advance to the national competition to compete for the national title of U.S. barista champ. For completeness, Sump put up two baristas (the max per tax id each shop can put up) and we did not win or place. Also, for completeness, and as a testament to the commitment Kaldi's Coffee has made to the St. Louis barista coffee scene all the baristas that competed from St. Louis either work for or have worked for Kaldi's -so thank you Kaldi's (I think) for nurturing and supporting this friendly(?) competition. The winner from our region was Tyler from Oddly Correct in KC.