'Battle of the Baristas’

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A unique competition pits 14 of the top Baristas from the best espresso bars in the Bay Area in a highly caffeinated battle for coffee supremacy

The Battle of the Baristas will showcase the amazing coffee making talents of some of the best Baristas in the south bay and peninsula areas. Fourteen independent cafes will choose their star Barista to represent them in an “Iron Chef” style coffee making competition. Baristas will compete by making two espressos, two cappuccinos and two “signature drinks” of their own choosing. Several local chefs and celebrities will be judging the event and crowning the winner. This is the first annual event and the first of it’s kind anywhere.

What: Battle of the Baristas – Battle for the title of the Best Barista in the Bay Area

When: Three separate competitions to declare the winner.

Saturday November 6th, 2004 from 2:00 pm till 7:00 pm is the Peninsuala and foothills semi-finals.

Saturday November 13th, 2004 from 2:00 pm till 7:00 pm is the South Bay semi-finals.

Saturday November 20th, 2004 from 2:00 pm till 7:00 pm is the Final competition to crown the champion.

Where: November 6th event will be held at Global Blends Coffee Company at 650 Castro St. suite 130 Mountain View, CA 94041. 650-254-1110

November 13th and 20th events will be held at Barefoot Coffee Roasters at 5237 Stevens Creek Blvd Santa Clara, CA 95051. 408-248-4500

Who: Some of the participating cafes who will be sending Baristas to compete:

Barefoot Coffee Roasters, Global Blends, Lowry’s Irish Coffee House, Coupa Café, Los Gatos Coffee Roasting, Orchard Valley Coffee Roasting, Blue Rock Shoot, Cool Beans, City Lights Espresso, Red Rock Coffee, Dana St Coffee Roasters, Coffee Society, Bean Scene

"The San Francisco Bay Area is the birthplace of specialty coffee retailing in North America." Says Mike Ferguson, Chief Communications officer for the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). "It is great to see the Bay Area once again becoming a hot spot for quality coffee. Coffee focused events like the Battle of the Baristas are helping to introduce people to the great taste and experience of high quality coffee while showcasing the art and craft of skilled Baristas."

The competition format is much simpler than the United States Barista Championships and is focused much more on the customer side of the coffee experience. Each Barista will make a total of six drinks. Two espressos, two cappuccinos and two signature drinks of their own creation. These drinks are judged on a scale of 1 to 10 by two judges on only two things: taste and appearance. Then the Barista themselves is given an overall score on their attitude, friendliness, knowledge and coffee passion. And in a unique twist local chefs from well known restaurants such as Parcel 104 and others will be judging several of the events to add a culinary flair to the competition and showcase coffee as a culinary art.

The competition will be fierce but still friendly as Baristas focus on making the best drinks and communicating with the judges rather than purely on technical perfection and technique. All of the cafes participating are by invitation only and represent some of the best espresso bars in the Bay Area.

“I just love this competition style because it showcases the culinary artistry that a skilled Barista can reach in coffee.” Exclaimed Monica Hill a lead Barista and the Art Czar at Barefoot Coffee Roasters. ”Being a part of such an amazing team, both at Barefoot and in the local coffee scene, I just hope to build awareness and send people on their way with a smile.”

“Once you have had a truly great, well crafted espresso you can never go back.” Tony Romo, Kitchen Manager at Parcel 104 restaurant beamed. “The difference a highly trained and passionate Barista makes in an espresso drink is immense just as the Chef adds the magic touch to the meal in a restaurant. We are excited to be involved in this event showcasing the talents of the best Baristas in the area.”

Barefoot Coffee Roasters is a full-service coffee and espresso bar and artisan organic wholesale coffee roaster located at 5237 Stevens Creek Blvd. in Santa Clara (at the corner of Lawrence Expressway near Bed, Bath and Beyond). Barefoot was voted the Best Coffee House in Silicon Valley by Metro magazine for 2004. Barefoot is famous for their traditional cappuccinos as seen on NBC news. All coffees are roasted fresh in the café by skilled artisan roasters using old-world, small batch roasting techniques to coax the best flavor out of every coffee. Barefoot Coffee Roasters actively practices and promotes sustainability in both products and practices. Over 85% of Barefoot Coffee Roasters coffees are organic, shade grown and fair traded, resulting in not only better coffee but better living and working conditions for the farmers and their children for successive generations. The café features computers for Internet access, as well as Wi-Fi Internet access, and serves high-quality coffees, teas, pastries, desserts and chocolates. Barefoot Coffees are served and enjoyed in many fine cafés and restaurants throughout the nation. Barefoot Coffee Roasters is proud to be a participating member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, the Roasters Guild and a founding member of the Barista Guild of America. For more information, please call (408) 248-4500, visit http://www.barefootcoffeeroasters.com or simply drop by.

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Andy Newbom