Complex. Smooth. Flavorful.
And That’s Just the Barista!
Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) Western Regional Barista Championship (WRBC) was held February 19 and 20 at Roshambo Winery + Gallery in Dry Creek Valley. Hosted by Taylor Maid Farms (and Roshambo), the competition drew 14 top baristas from across the western United States to battle it out for the coveted title by demonstrating the art of espresso and, in the process, creating some of the world’s finest coffee concoctions.
In addition to the title, the winner earned an automatic semi-final placing in the U.S. Barista Championship (USBC) competition. The winner of the USBC competition competed in the World Barista Championship, which this year was held in Seattle April 15-18.
Each contestant prepared and served 12 coffee beverages – four espressos, four cappuccinos and four original signature drinks of their own creation – all within 15 minutes. Seven USBC-certified judges, including one head judge, two technical judges and four sensory judges, evaluated each competitor. Judges focused on station cleanliness, taste, beverage presentation, technical skill and total impression. After the first round, the top six competitors moved on to the final round, where one will prevail as WRBC champion.
Champion: Heather Perry, Coffee Klatch, San Dimas, CA
2005 United States Barista Championship (USBC)
Champion: Phuong Tran, Lava Java, Ridgefield, WA
There are more than 6,000 species of coffee plants, with at least 25 major types. The two most commercially important types are arabica (Coffea arabica) and robusta (Coffea canephora).
Because the arabica plant is delicate, it’s harder to grow and its beans are more expensive. Arabica can be drunk pure or used as the base for coffee blends with robusta. Arabica has a delicate taste and is used to add acidity and body to the finished brew.
As the robusta plant’s hardier than the arabica, it’s easier – and therefore cheaper – to grow. But this doesn’t mean that a blend of coffee containing robusta beans is lower quality than pure Arabica… coffee blends are designed to bring out the best balance of different flavors. Robusta has a strong flavor and is used to give body and “kick” to coffee blends.
Robusta was first discovered growing naturally in the area now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo. Robusta coffee is produced in West and Central Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of South America.
# of coffee houses in U.S.: 18,000… of which: 35% are Starbucks; 13% are other chains; 52% are independently owned
% of adults who drink specialty coffee on a regular basis: 16
Total coffee retail sales in the U.S.: $22 billion
Retail sales of specialty coffee: $9 billion
Leading import country for coffee: Colombia
# of beans in two shots of espresso: 60