If you're passionate about all the facets of coffee preparation and drinking, this weekend's North and South Central Regional Barista Competition, presented by the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Barista Guild, and hosted by PT's Coffee Roasting Co. of Topeka and St. Louis-based Kaldi's Coffee, will be searching for the best and most skilled barista in the North and South Central United States.
The events will be held at the Guild KC, 1621 Locust, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, January 18; from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, January 19; and from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, January 20. All the featured competitive events are free and open to the public. Coffee beverages will be offered to patrons attending the event.
Baristas from the North Central Region will represent North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan; the baristas from the South Central Region will represent Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Competing baristas in the general barista competition must prepare three drinks: espresso, cappuccino and a custom signature drink. The Brewers Cup competition will challenge competing baristas to brew an unknown brand of coffee using their own styles of brewing.
There are six regional competitions held in the United States each year; the winners of each will compete this April at the United States Barista Championship at the Specialty Coffee Association of America's Exposition in Boston. A past national champion, Pete Licata (the new quality assurance manager for Parisi Coffee), will defend his title at this week's regional compeition; Licata was the 2011 U.S. Barista Champion and went on to win second place at that year's world barista competition in Bogota, Colombia.