Barista Magazine

FEB-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 34 of 87

KE NYA FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS, the winners of the six regional barista competitions in the United States, plus the United States Barista Champion and the World Barista Champion have been invited by coffee importer Café Imports to go on an all-expensespaid trip to a coffee-producing country. The first trip sent the barista champions to Brazil, and the second group visited Costa Rica. For the third year of the three-year sponsorship, the folks at Café Imports wanted to go even bigger, and they invited the baristas to join them on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Kenya. The baristas, some of whom have changed companies and locations since winning their regions, included Charlie Habegger, who is now with Handsome Coffee in Los Angeles; Eden Marie Abramowicz of Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters in Los Angeles; Lem Butler from Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, N.C.; Sam Lewontin of Everyman Espresso in New York City; Devin Chapman currently with Verve Coffee Roasters in Los Angeles; and, of course Kansas City, Mo.–based Parisi Coffee's Pete Licata, who actually claimed three of the coveted spots on the trip by winning a regional, the USBC, and the WBC. Tim Chapdelaine and Piero Cristiani from Café Imports, and the always-affable barista completion fixtures and sponsors, tamperman Reg Barber and Nuova Simonelli's Gianni Cassatini, accompanied the baristas. Also tagging along for the ride were a couple of lucky members of the media. Touching down in Nairobi's makeshift international terminal in mid-December, the group was quickly shepherded through customs Opposite page: At top, a lion yawns on the safari excursion that Cafe Imports treated the barista champions to at the end of their Kenya coffee adventure in December. Below: from le , Pete Licata, Devin Champan, and Sam Lewontin inspect drying coffee on a raised bed at the Ruarai Wet Mill in Nyeri. This page: Lem Butler and the rest of the team don hairnets and smocks for a tour of Dormans dry mill and roaster in Nairobi. and immigration. The airport suffered a catastrophic fire in early August, and the blaze engulfed the entire international terminal. A new airport is currently under construction but won't be open for at least two more years. Security was a primary concern for the travelers not because of the fire, but instead due to the harrowing and tragic terrorist attack on Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall in late September that left more than 70 people dead. The group's security handler, William "Billy" Brennan from the firm Halliday Finch spoke with a brusque-but-endearing Scottish brogue, and barked at the group to stay close to him as they wove through the throngs at the arrivals gate and into the parking lot, where three stretch Toyota Land Cruisers awaited. The rigs had the iconic look of an African expedition and would carry the crew across Nairobi and the rural countryside of Kenya for the following four days. The heightened security in the city was evident at the hotel, which was outfitted with x-ray scanners and metal detectors at the entrance, along with barriers and roadblocks to stop any car-based attacks. Billy gave a more detailed security briefing the next morning, and made the point that traveling in new Land Cruisers and carrying expensive camera equipment made the group stand out as rich foreigners, and therefore possible targets. 35

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