Wednesday, March 16, 2005

3 of the top 6 baristas in America are here in Chicago

Well, the Specialty Coffee Association of America's 2005 United States Barista Championship is finally over; were you as glued to your television screen as I was? The exciting news is that half of the top six finishers this year (Ellie Hudson-Matuszak, who placed second; Matthew Riddle, fourth; and Amber Sather, sixth) are all from Chicago...and not only that, they're all from the same coffeehouse too! Specifically, they're all staff members of Intelligentsia, which should come as no surprise to those of us who live in Chicago; Intelligentsia, in fact, is legendary for their fussy baristas, their boot-camp-style training program, and the "latte art" they construct on the tops of their coffee drinks (basically, when you pour the milk in a way so that it creates a fancy pattern on the top of the drink). Huzzah to Intelligentsia! Hopefully next year that East German judge won't be nearly so harsh to you. (Disclosure: I hang out at Intelligentsia way too often myself; all three people mentioned in this entry are acquaintances of mine. Thanks to both and for pointing this out to me.)