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PULL JOURNAL OF JAMS, COMPETITIONS, AND BARISTA EVENTS FROM ITS BEGINNINGS on the coasts, specialty cofee has been spreading into the very middle of the country—even as far as Texas, which was beautifully evident at the latest Barista Nation event held in Dallas on November 5. From the start of the event, it was clear that Texas was not going to accept cofee culture as it has been handed to us, but rather it would shape it into something new and unique. As the roaster space belonging to our host, Oak Clif Cofee Roasters flled with baristas from North Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, the energy and enthusiasm about the day's activities was palpable. One participant from out of state was surprised by how well the crowd would have ft in anywhere—even Portland, Ore., he said—and was certainly "not the cowboy country" he was expecting. Of the many people responsible for Barista Nation Texas, Tom Vincent of the Texas Cofee School comes immediately to mind. Afer attending a few Barista Nation events in other parts of the United States, Tom was convinced one needed to happen here, and he successfully pleaded his case to Barista Nation founder Anastasia Chovan. Te ideal location was provided by Shannon Nefendorf of Oak Clif Cofee, which could showcase an esteemed panel of speakers and accommodate the eager baristas and café owners in attendance. Te local pride for the region's substantial and accomplished barista and café communities was immediately evident at Barista Nation Texas. And it's a culture that's pretty new: Folks agreed that an event of this size and magnitude would not have been possible At the end of a successful second year of worldwide barista educational events, Barista even one or two years ago. Texas' specialty-cofee scene has been Nation stopped in Dallas to treat coﬀee professionals from around the state to a week's exploding as more and more small cafés open across the state. It's worth of workshops, lectures, panel discussions, hands-on equipment time, a la e-art exciting to be a part of the education and development of new spe- throwdown, and more—all in the space of one day. Oak Cliﬀ Coﬀee Roasters kindly provided the venue, and professionals from around the country came together to promote cialty-cofee drinkers, and it's possible now to learn from what othcoﬀee education and community. ers in specialty cofee have done and make it better—and since it is cious. We listened, learned, and tasted as we explored how many specialty Texas, make it bigger. Te theme of Barista Nation Texas was "collaboration"—whether be- drinks combine and use cofee in unique and diferent ways. Te fnal presentation, a panel discussion regarding barista and customtween farmer and roaster, barista and shop owner, or barista and customer— and this topic ran in a strong current throughout the discussions. Presenta- er collaboration, brought up some very interesting points that revealed the tions included "Café Marketing" by Tom Vincent; "Creating Roast Profles" struggles shared by cafés in the area. Te defnition of a quality experience by Brent Hall; "Barista Business Tools and Your Café" by Ryan Fisher from at a café included the barista taking ownership of the beverage, providing a Oak Lawn Cofee and Shannon of Oak Clif; and "Brewing Method Trouble- unique experience based on the customer's needs, and making sure that the essential customer-service aspect of the café doesn't sufer due to a barista's shooting" by Tom Vincent and Brant Curtis. Cofee producer and Oak Clif Cofee collaborator, Ernesto Menendez obsession with the cofee. Lorenzo summed up the discussion well by saying that there are two of Finca Las Brumas, whose cofee won frst place in the 2012 El Salvador Cup of Excellence, discussed the importance of collaboration between the farm- types of baristas: those who want to be a barista and those who want to play at er and the roaster. Ernesto explained how he appreciates the input a roaster being a barista. We were all at Barista Nation Texas to become better baristas, brings to the table because the roaster is committed to creating the best cofee and we can all move forward from this event as more confdent and compepossible. He told us how he really enjoys tasting his own cofee roasted, and tent representatives of our Texas cofee scene. Afer such an intense and productive event, the only thing lef to do was that for him it's crucial to know what the roaster and baristas expect from compete and—of course—eat. Attendees enjoyed Cane Rosso's pizza, which is cofee so that he can produce a delicious and valuable cup. South Central Regional Barista Champion Lorenzo Perkins of Cuvee a true Italian brick pizza oven attached to a food truck. Deep Ellum Brewing Cofee in Austin, Tex. gave a compelling presentation on creating a routine celebrated its frst anniversary by combining its Pollenator doppelbock beer for the United States Barista Championship. He broke down the mystery with local honey and cofee from Oak Clif. Te latte-art throwdown that followed revealed the level of skill that this that ofen surrounds these competitions in an efort to help future competitors focus on the favor of their espresso and their discussion of their chosen area of the country contains. Tirty-two competitors stepped up to the UNIC cofees for the purpose of improving their skills—not just for competition, espresso machines for a chance to win the grand prize of a Baratza cofee grinder. Tough there was only one throwdown winner, I can safely say that but for everyday success in the café. Sauro Dall'Aglio and Garold LaRue of AVOCA explored the diferent all of us in attendance felt like winners by the end of this enormously successdefnitions of beverages and what makes a drink "specialty". Everyone en- ful cofee event. —Christina Mosley Furr joyed Garold's explanation of why a caramel macchiato is wrong but deli22 barista magazine Photos by Christina Mosley Furr BARISTA NATION GOES DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS