I missed blogging yesterday so everyone is gonna get the scoop for two days worth. My dearest appologies too all our fellow readers in the whirled wyde web, hehe.
So after a not so busy first day and short nights rest, my day started pretty early with a volunteer meeting. I was representing the PT’s crew and tryin to be on my best behavior. But ya know, bein on Team Goonie, doesn’t make it all that easy 😉 I got to meet and greet with all the baristas and see some great people that competed with us at the Midwestern Regional which was really nice. Chris Berola was the first of our team (who works for one of our wholesale accounts, Latte Land) to get his practice time out of the way. This year they are giving the competitors an hour and a half to warm up. Seems like a lot if you ask me, but many are taking full advantage. At the Midwest, we got 10 minutes. Chris was also the only one of the team to go in the first round Friday. His performance was amazing and one of the best we have seen. All of the teams hard work and dedication has really paid off! Pete would do his run the following day.
Later in the evening, myself, our fearless leader Jeff Taylor, Berola and Latte Land owner Ed Schultz (along with some others) all headed to a massive party at the new Intelligentsia Roasting works facility in LA. This was pretty much a who’s who in the industry. They were brewing coffee using the new Clover machine, which we at PT’s are also a proud owner of as well, and had one of LA’s finest taco trucks parked in front feeding everyone. Yep, tacos and coffee…not a good combo in the stomach but nobody seemed to mind. So after a few drinks and mingling amoung the many, we headed back to our hotels and called it a night.
The next day got started pretty early again. I joined Pete, Robin Seitz who manages our Topeka store and is also the current Midwestern Barista Champ, and Holly Bastin for some breakfast. Holly and I had a 9am class on brewing fundamentals. I wasn’t for sure on what we would learn, but I gotta admit, I walked out knowing more than I had. Which is great because now I can make sure all that amazing new coffee we have coming in will taste just as amazing in everyones cup! Shortly after, Holly and I attended another class and both got Gold Cup certified which is a good thing for any company or individual to accomplish.
In between classes, I took a chance and competed in a competition of another type. The distributer ESI (whom PT’s has a great relationship with and gets equipment from) was doing a trivia type game where the winner would get a brand new La Marzocco GS3. It’s a single group machine that runs around 5 grand so I thought what the heck! Well, I gave it my best shot but didn’t move on. But it was a lot of fun and a good way to waste 15 minutes, lol.
Later on in the day, the first of PT’s baristas, Mr. Pete Licata, would do his first round performance. All I have to say is WOW. Pete was like a barista ninja out there, smooth and deadly. You can see where all those hours, days, and weeks of practice have really paid off because he was simply amazing out there. With the ability to set the judges table now in your 15 minute “set up” time, he had a little more time to fully explain his espresso and the drinks he would serving and how he would be expressing his passion for the mighty spro. He even made a few changes in how he prepared his espresso. Changes im goin to leave out on purpose so everyone has to go in and see Pete so he can tell you personally and prepare his signature espresso for ya!
So after a long day of competing, everyone was finally finished up. And when the smoke cleared and the semi finalists were announced, PT’s was very proud to hear that BOTH of our baristas, Pete and Robin, would be competing! Since Robin won the Midwest, he got an automatic bid in the semis. Chris Berola did a great job but didn’t make the semi-finals. Watch out for him next year though because competing can only make a person better…eek! So tomorrow will be an exciting day because we finally get to see Robin “Big Daddy” do his performance and Pete go again. From what I hear, Robin is going to blow some people away and I know Pete will do amazing as well. Could the United States Championship be comin home with us? Oh, I believe it will…I believe it will.
Till tomorrow, Good night and good luck.
-Kris w/ a K