23 full days…552 hours…33,120 minutes. I don’t even want to know what that is in seconds (ok, I did the math and it was just shy of 2 million). But, it is a lot of time. It is approximately the amount of time that each of our barista competitors has spent practicing for the 2008 SCAA United States Barista Competition this week. Between the 5 of us that is a combined 2,760 hours. It is roughly 13% of the last 6 months for each of us, and that doesn’t even include sleep. Every Saturday and Sunday (with the occasional Friday thrown in) has been spent in each other’s company, refining technique, tweaking performances, and really getting to know one another. In an effort to decompress and have a little fun together after all the time we have invested, we decided to have a little party this past Saturday night. Robin brought a grill to the PT’s roasting facility and we grilled meats and vegetables after a day of performance run throughs. We even used some of the ingredients from different signature drinks for seasoning on the meat (well marbled steak and thick cut pork chops), including our espresso blend, La Bella Vita (in ground and liquid form). I have to say, it was some of the best barbeque that I have had the pleasure of tasting. Once everyone had their plates full we ate at the ‘judges table’ in the PT’s training room and plugged in the PlayStation2 for a little Guitar Hero. All in all it was a great way to unite the team before the big competition.
The team consists of 2 PT’s Baristas- Pete Licata (2008 SCAA Midwest Regional Barista Champion, as well as runner up in the 2007 United States competition) and Robin Seitz (2007 SCAA Midwest Regional Barista Champion). We have two other competitors- Chris Berola and Caitlin Corcoran from LatteLand Espresso and Tea in Kansas City. I (Holly) have primarily played the role of coach in our endeavors and no matter what happens this weekend, I will be very proud of their accomplishments. Awards aside, all four of them have improved drastically in the last 6 months and are huge assets to the coffee industry in technique and skill. Anyone would be honored to have them be the last set of hands to touch their coffee.
We will be updating the blog as the competition progresses, so stay tuned for more information!