The winning barista will choose between two coveted prizes: a trip to a Guatemalan coffee farm with Taylor Maid Farms or a high-end espresso machine.
A panel of technical and sensory judges will evaluate contestants on a range of areas including knowledge of coffee harvesting and processing techniques; taste, volume and texture of espresso; and presentation of drinks including latte art.
Each Oliver’s Market will host a semi-final competition featuring their best baristas, sending one winner onto the Final Throwdown. All events are open to the public with the following schedule:
Oliver’s Market, Stonypoint Semi-Final: January 7th, 2-3pm
Oliver’s Market, Montecito Semi-Final: January 8th, 1-2pm
Oliver’s Market, Cotati Semi-Final January 9th, 2-3pm.
Final Throwdown: Taylor Maid Farms Organic Coffee, January 17th, 6-8pm
The competition reflects a growing global awareness of the professionalism and technical skill-set required to make specialty coffee, a movement chronicled in the New York Times’ December 31, 2012 article: “Learning to Create the Perfect Cup of Coffee.”
The professional barista movement will also be on display at Barista Nation in San Francisco on January 19th, a forum for professional baristas to gather, share best practices, and take their artisanal coffee skills to the next level.
The trip to Guatemala will take place in early February with the goal of building closer relationships with coffee farmers and learning more about farm-level coffee processing.