We love hearing about companies opening their doors to baristas who want to hang out, practice, and learn. Visions Espresso in Seattle is one of those companies. For the second year, as the Northwest region’s barista competition and brewers cup approach, Visions opens their doors to baristas who want to come in and practice on a competition espresso machine. Just to be nice. Just to help out. It’s pretty awesome.
“Visions Espresso invites all barista and brewers cup competitors to train in the competition space to help encourage professional development through competition,” says Visions’ Director of Education, Cole McBride, who organizes and executes the effort. Many baristas have said that they would like to compete but do not have the resources to do so. Last year we started letting competitors use the space, and this year we added to the space with a custom-built table built to competition standard. This year we have at least 11 competitors using the space.”
The baristas are all preparing for the upcoming Big Western, which will host the Northwest Regional Barista Competition and the Northwest Regional Brewers Cup, as well as the Southwest Regional Barista Competition and the Southwest Brewers Cup. Baristas from Oregon, Washington, and Alaska qualify for the Northwest regionals. The Big Western takes place February 21–23 in Los Angeles. For all the details, go HERE.
The practice space at Visions is totally tricked out to be an exact replica of the space the baristas will use on stage. It includes an Aurelia II T3 with customized water that matches what is used in competition, as well as a Mahlkönig K30, Mahlkönig K30 Twin, and an EK43.
Visions offers two-hour time slots for competitors, who sign up for one or two seasons per week. Cole says that while some of the baristas like their privacy, others work together and combine their time slots. “The Seattle coffee community has grown very close, and we all want to see each other succeed,” says Cole.
Baristas who have used the space at Visions this year include Corey Autobee, Bronwen Serna, Riley Paterson, Brady MacDonald, Sam Schroeder, Christos Andrews, Sam Brandvein, Brandon Paul Weaver, Cole McBride, Mike Cannon, Maxwell Mooney, and Laila Ghambari.