Deferio is the reigning NERBC champion and has more than luck and skill on his side. Today I catch the full introduction of his espresso blend — three different coffees roasted by three different friends across the US. The Brazil is roasted by his friend Matt in Syracuse. The Papua New Guinea is roasted by his friend Jesse in Louisville. And the Costa Rican is roasted by his friend Aaron in Muncie (Muncie!).

Deferio explains that getting to know coffee is like getting to know people — today the judges will get to know cappuccinos first, then his espressos, then his signature drink of hickory smoked vanilla beans, which are chopped and heated now.

Last night outside the venue Justin Tiesl suggested Deferio really ought to make a wood cookbook. He’s right on. Dude clearly loves wood: both smoking it, walking among it and using it as a tamper stand. Amazing!

Deferio’s the last Ithaca-based competitor of the three-on-three tourney and he glides through his routine with unsurprising grace. His espresso shots are meant to taste of cinnamon, orange and a juicy apricot. By 8:45 he moves on to preparing his sig beverage, “A Walk in the Woods”.

He explains the stages of the signature drink as similar to the stages of a walk: exhiliration, revelation, being cold. At three minutes left his shots are up for the WiTW, and he pours and delivers it well under time. There’s a minute to clean and thank the judges, and call it at 14:58. One more barista to go — and the only one who competed this weekend who regularly makes me coffee back home. This is exciting! And I’m really glad it’s not 10 hours long again. Stay tuned.

(A small child in the audience just asked Nick Cho what his favorite kind of espresso bean is. I assume he’ll field this by asking the child to jump from a 100′ height onto a tamper and have Rao and Schecter plot the results for the Gimme! party tonight. But I think he might also have just mumbled something about Yirgacheffe.)

One Response to “NERBC Day Two Finalist Five: Chris Deferio”

  1. Walkable Eastwood » Blog Archive » World class barista at Cafe Kubal

    […] the next month, Chris Deferio will be a consultant at the cafe. Chris won 2nd place in the Northeast Regional Barista […]

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