With previous world barista champions we continue our road to WBC 2015 (Seattle, April 9-12). Today it’s time to re-read what Pete Licata (United Staes) said the day after his victory in Melbourne, at the World Barista Championship in 2013. In the meantime we continue with our puzzle to discover the official coffee machine for the 2015 WBC.
How did you train to this competition?
I didn’t focus as much on doing full 15-minute run throughs and scrutinizing all the technical aspects. I felt good about those. I spent time honing and refining what I was doing, but I took it in segments, maybe working on one or two a day. Then I put it all together later on. In the past I’d do a full 15-minute run through and analyze it. Then another 15 minutes and reanalyze it. That becomes a little overwhelming.
What are some important barista skills that can’t be assessed in a 15-minute competition?
There are quite a few. They take customer service into consideration in the competitions, but you know you’re going to make specific drinks. It is difficult to assess the multitasking and how a barista has to continually engage and perform and create great coffee at the same time. I don’t know if we could ever truly put that into the competition format, but it’s something that’s really important. I’ve known a lot of great baristas who weren’t as good on stage – but they’re fantastic with their customers and part of why a person will come into their shop everyday. That’s difficult to gauge on a competition level because it’s a set format.
What do you think the next big trend in coffee will be?
There’s the trend in the U.S. toward small-scale, roaster-café operations. The independent shop that is going toward the quality model – progressively, slowly, in small ways, is encouraging to me. Its good for local communities, and for coffee. And there are more people every year who are willing to try a more refined cup of coffee, whether it’s a traditional espresso or a simple pour over. I really hope to see that continue. I saw it all over in Melbourne. People there are willing to pay a good price for a small amount of coffee overall. It’s more about enjoyment and flavor, and less about an extra-large drink to over-caffeinate yourself.