New York hosts the North East Regional Barista Competition
This past weekend New York hosted the North East Regional Barista Competition—a showdown among the region’s finest men and women in control of our caffeine intake. Competitors had 15 minutes to make espresso shots, cappuccinos, and a specialty drink of their creation for four judges, while talking on microphone about important stuff like the source, blend, and roast of their selected espresso beans, their choice in milk supplier, and the development of their specialty drink. We were even lucky enough to hear one competitor wax poetic about how his love for music translated into the creation of his specialty drink, or something equally contrived.
While the barista is juggling making drinks and entertaining judges, other people are running around scoring the competitor’s barista etiquette. There’s even have a 24-page rules and regulations handbook. And you think you take your morning cup of joe seriously.
We caught up with first-time competitor Cara Vincente (pictured below) from Think Coffee to ask her about the competition. Cara’s specialty drink was an El Salvadorian horchata with a shot of single origin espresso, also from El Salvador. (Single origin? Coffee-world term for coffee beans from a single farm roasted by a boutique roaster.) She even worked directly with New York-based coffee roaster Dallis Bros. to fire her El Salvadorian beans to a toasty perfection.
Cara hooked us up with a sample cup of the final concoction before it was all gone. Instead telling you how delicious it was by getting all coffee snob on your ass (“Ah yes—initially a hint of tart cucumber, followed by a wave of carbony butter, but with a full, round balsamic rice finish.”) I’m just going to give you the horchata recipe (check after the photo below). Use it to impress a girl sometime (this is coming from a girl.)
El Salvadorian Horcahta Recipe:
Mix sesame seeds, sunflowers seeds, cashews, peanuts, cocoa, cinnamon, rice, and nutmeg together. Ground the mixture up to a powder. Soak overnight in water, strain it, and add sugar. Drink to your little heart’s content. Maybe a little rum, whatever.
And listen—this recipe hails from Central America. As someone who has personally spent excessive time the region, I can tell you that measuring cooking ingredients is a strange concept down south. Just use your best judgment.
The original recipe is from Bahia Restaurant, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Text and Photo: Caylee
Horchata recipe: Food Network