Barista Magazine

DEC 2018 - JAN 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 35 of 107

P U L L : E V E N T S THE TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN'. As we in the United States have begun navigating a major cultural shift over the last few years, a lot of attention has been drawn toward the concept of privilege: those who have access to more and those who do not. As the divide has become more apparent to an increasing number of people, the conversation of inequality has been emerging around the nature of coffee competitions. It's often very easy to point out the inherent unfairness in a situation, but it is a different thing entirely to rise and do something about it. Enter T. Benjamin Fischer. Where others saw the impossible, T. Ben saw only possibility. Banding together with close friends both from the coffee world and his regular social circles, he shared a vision for a training program geared specifi cally toward the underserved and marginalized communities in coffee with his Glitter Cat Barista Bootcamp, and he was met with abundant enthusiasm. A mere six months ago, the intensive workshop was just a twinkle in his eye. Thanks to so many friends and sponsors, it is now full-on reality. I was fortunate to be invited to attend and share my knowledge with the eager group of attendees in October. I wasn't entirely sure what I was walking into, but within 10 minutes of meeting my fi rst Glitter Kitten, I knew this was going to be a different experience, unlike any event I had attended. The vibe was open, creating a safe space for all to share their experiences, both good and bad. Over the course of three days, we collectively began to see more clearly the challenges many of us have to overcome to become who we aspire to be. If there were only one phrase I could choose to describe this event, it would be "deeply encouraging." As if all the training and support shared over the three-day bootcamp weren't enough to make a cat purr, the gracious staff at the celebrated Colombian coffee farm La Palma y El Tucan have generously invited all 10 Glitter Kittens to visit the farm in January! Until next year—less bitter, more glitter! Clockwise from top left: Instructor and former United States Barista Champ (USBC) Lem Butler (left) and Glitter Kitten Anthony Ragler get deep in discussion about life and signature beverages. In her session on presentation, instructor and former Coffee Masters Champion Erika Vonie shared both her experience and charisma. At the one evening event open to the public, the Glitter Cat Barista championship, Glitter Kitten Topher Ou (right) and partner Greg weigh out their signature-drink options from the ingredient library. Each ingredient was assigned a point value that factored into scoring. "Safe" ingredients like simple syrup held a score penalty, while riskier ingredients like pepperoni were awarded bonus points. On the third day, our Glitter Cat mascot, Axel Cat, came to meet everyone. Up front: Topher Ou, Axel Cat, T. Benjamin Fischer, Anthony Ragler. In the middle: Stage manager Willow Manuel, Audrey Delmar Propster, Pete Licata, Joseph Gonzalez, Becca DeBoer, Elisabeth Johnson, and Emily Orendorff. The way back row: Holly Bastin, Kara Huckabone, and David Palazuelos. Missing from the group is the Glitter Cat Champion, Rodrigo Vargas Welsch, who had to open at his café that morning! In her session, instructor and former USBC Champ Laila Ghambari dug deep into the meaning behind the USBC rules and regulations. GLITTER CAT BARISTA BOOTCAMP PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA OCTOBER 23–25, 2018 TEXT BY HOLLY BASTIN PHOTOS COURTESY OF GLITTER CAT 36 barista magazine

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