The Crema the Crop!

This weekend is the North Central Barista Competition in Chicago and three of Zingerman’s Coffee Company’s baristas are going to represent Zingerman’s. Now if you aren’t an espresso-obsessed barista (folks who brew your coffee), you might not be familiar with what such a competition means. Well, imagine one barista behind an espresso machine pulling four shots of espresso, four cappuccinos and four signature drinks for a panel of sensory judges while being intensely watched by two technical judges. Now that might not sound like much, but with the 15 minute time restriction and another 30 highly talented coffee slingers in the running, it can get pretty serious.

For a while now, Nathan Mikkleson, Chris Glasow and I have been preparing for this year’s barista challenge. Each one of us has been working on refining our skills and palates in hopes of making it to the finals. When someone wins the regional competition, he or she gets to go to the US competition and after that, the World Barista Championship.

While we have hopes of going on, our first goal is to perform well, drink some great coffee and learn from a group of peers. You all can join us at the Ravenswood center or from the comfort of Zingerman’s Coffee Company, since we’ll have the whole competition projected from a live feed off of the website! The whole thing kicks off Friday, March 23 with Chris up at 2:25. I’ll go on at 5:16. Round one continues for a second day on Saturday with Nate going at 3:41. If any of us make it through to the next round, there will be more action on Sunday. So stop by our coffee shop on Plaza Drive and watch us take on the best!