The Story of The Pete and Barista Magazine

Ken and I have chatted for several years about having Pete Licata on the cover of Barista Magazine. In his work at PT’s Coffee in Kansas, he shined as a trainer and also a barista competitor. He would have made a fine cover subject at any point in his coffee career. But when he moved to Hawaii and started focusing on the brilliant coffees being grown on the islands, and the Big Island specifically, by bringing them stateside and competing with them at the Western Regional Barista Competition (which he won twice) and the United States Barista Championship (USBC)—that was when Ken and I knew the time had come to have a Pete issue.

In fact, it was in January of 2011 that Ken and I decided that we would have Pete on the cover during 2011—we just weren’t sure when. It was awesome—and hilarious—that we ended up having Michael Phillips on 2 covers in the space of one year (once in April of 2010, as our anniversary issue cover, and then again in August, after he had won the World Barista Championship (WBC). It’s our practice to put the winner of the WBC on the cover). But with so many amazing baristas in the world, hundreds of whom would make terrific cover subjects, we wanted to cover our bases and make sure we didn’t have a repeat of the Michael Phillips double-cover year.

So we chatted with Pete in January. We told him we wanted to put him on the cover during 2011, but we were also aware that he not only stood a terrific chance of winning the 2011 USBC, but the 2011 WBC, as well, an accomplishment that would land him on the cover. Therefore, we told him, we wanted to wait until the latter half of 2011 to see what happened.

And sure enough, Pete won the USBC. And a few months later, he was in Bogota, Colombia, looking very much like he could win that, too. And he almost did—he came in second. That meant we would put WBC winner Alejandro Mendez on the annual WBC cover. And we could plan an issue to come for Pete.

We thought our end-of-the-year issue, December/January, would be a great one for Pete, and for Hawaii. Who doesn’t dream of the tropics during the chilly winter months? So we present to you the latest issue of Barista Magazine, featuring Pete “The Pete” Licata on the cover and in an article, as well as a special section on Hawaiian coffee.

We’re thrilled to finally have this outstanding coffee artisan on our cover, and hope you’ll be excited to read about him!

Read the issue online for free at baristamagazine.com (just click on the cover image). Or wait for yours in the mail—Mr. Postman should be delivering it soon!

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.