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KRUPS SPONSORS QUEST TO FIND THE BEST ESPRESSO BARTENDER.

ATLANTA-Baristas gathered here over the weekend to brew, froth and tamp their way to the top at the Specialty Coffee Association of America's United States Barista Championship.

Sponsored in part by Krups, a manufacturer of espresso and coffee machines, entries to the event have exploded over the past three years since the competition began, and 2004 saw the most participants yet.

Held during the biggest coffee show of the year, the 16th Annual SCAA Conference, from April 23 to 26, 33 young coffee bartenders showed off their flawless shot and the perfect froth at the Super Bowl of specialty coffee.

Competitors prepared 12 coffee concoctions -- four espressos, four cappuccinos and four specialty coffee drinks of their own creation -- all within a 15-minute time frame for the judges, who are SCAA members, gourmet coffee shop owners and past USBC champions. The judges base the quality of the barista's beverages on preparation, speed and creativity using a point system in which the slightest mishap could destroy all chances.

"With so many Americans purchasing their desired beverage at local coffeehouses, they've helped to elevate and showcase the profession of being a barista in America," said Ted Lingle, the SCAA's executive director. "Today, there are an estimated 140,000 baristas in the U.S."

Heather Perry, a 21-year-old from San Dimas, Calif., was named the 2003 United States Barista Champion. She was back this weekend to vie for the coveted 2004 USBC gold. The champion will go on to compete at the World Barista Championship in Trieste, Italy, June 18 to 20.

Krups presented a Novo 3000 espresso machine and burr grinder to each contestant.
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Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 26, 2004
Words:271
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