photo courtesy James Hoffmann I’ve been wanting to interview Croatian barista Nik Orosi ever since reading an inspiring email he wrote to “Crazy Dan Master” Griffin last winter, outlining his diabolical yet inspired plan to dominate the World Barista Competition with plasma TV screens and a universalizing cry that “all barista breath the same air”. […]

For a change there is no competition until later in the day — noon! — and it’s a sleeper-in for the first time in days. Or it would be, if there weren’t a plan afoot to go bowling and brunching in the morning with my friends from America’s Dairyland. We arrive at Bryant Lake Bowl (via a […]

[Playing mass catch-up here now that I’m back from the Twin Cities. Can I really not have eaten anything since brunch at the bowling alley? Ow.] Nick Griffith (Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, Los Angeles, CA) is on now. The Minneapolis Convention Center is extremely, extremely dry. As I watch him pour water from the judges […]

By the way, I forgot the most frightening thing anyone has said to me so far this conference: “I’m from the Ugly Mug. What are you doing Sunday night?” Hopefully that guy won’t find me today!! Back to the competition… Mike Philips (Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, Chicago, IL) is up. I feel like he’s tighter […]

USBC 2008 Semifinals Part One Natasha Lebedev (Zoka Coffee, Seattle, WA) opens, once again staunchly defending the acidity of much-maligned vinegar. She’s good. I’m hungry. Crowd favorite Lem Butler (Counter Culture Coffee, Durham, NC) hits second with an easygoing and positive attitude. His signature drink includes a Fatima Brazil and Dolok Sangul — the latter […]

USBC Day Two Part One Ow, it feels very early when I manage to reach the Minneapolis Convention Center, although it is surprisingly closer to my hotel than I thought when I let Mike White try to guide me via skyway the day before. I’m headed to watch Charles Babinksi (Intelligentsia, Chicago, IL) compete. Charles’ […]

I’m a little behind on the updates today. I’d like to blame Tony for kicking out the power cord on my Mac while he slept on the hotel sofa last night… but it is more likely I should be blaming Nye’s Polonaise. (Though among the secret-life-pre-coffee tales of string cheese factory line work and carousel […]

Welcome to the United States Barista Championship day one from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Midwest. Check it out: it is 60023942390483 degrees in the convention center. My photo pass is a regular SCAA badge with a frog sticker on it. The frog isn’t winking, but his tongue is sticking out. This is the official credential. As it […]

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