Food G.P.S. delivers the perfect afternoon pick-up. This past weekend, the U.S. Barista Championship was held at the Anaheim Convention Center. 60 of the nation’s top baristas fought for a single slot in the 2010 World Barista Championship, to be held in London this summer. With the seats and bleachers full on the final day, three competitors from Intelligentsia, two competitors from Verve Coffee Roasters, and Mike Marquard, a two-time finalist from Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Company in St. Louis, were left to claim the top prize.
Michael Phillips, the defending U.S. champ, featured three coffees from Costa Rica. Each coffee involved the same bean varietals and was grown at 1500-1800 meters at the Coopedota cooperative in Costa Rica. What Phillips did to showcase his skills - and blow the competition out of the water - was to go with three different processes, three different roasts, three different grinds and three different extraction methods. He prepared his washed coffee beans as espresso which brought out a “bright tart cherry and sparkling mouth feel.” Then, for his pulp natural coffee, he brewed up cappuccinos to bring out “nice Graham cracker notes..." even with a hint of "peanut butter.” He added tart cherry syrup and mineral water to his full natural processed coffee. His fourth cup combined date and Muscovado sugar reduction. Finally, Phillips pulled shots of washed coffee directly on top of ginger and rhubarb reduction. Coming in first out of 60 competitors is no easy feat, so Phillips had to work for his 701 points. Needless to say, he's looking forward to June when the World competition convenes. But what about next year? Intelligentsia says they're taking next year off from barista competitions. Guess we'll have to see if Phillips keeps pouring shots in Chicago... [Food G.P.S]