When the ranking for the 2013 United States Barista Championship had been announced, the finalists looked just exhausted, so we wanted to give them some space to be with their friends and family, and decompress. Since then, I’ve been able to chat with all six of them about what was going through their head during the final round of the 2013 USBC. Today through Saturday, we’ll be posting these short Q&As with each of the six finalists, one per day. We hope you enjoy getting inside the heads of these coffee masterminds as much as I did.
Sarah: Charles, as you always do, you rocked the USBC—congratulations on such an outstanding job. Now that some time has passed, how do you feel your final round performance went in retrospect?
Charles: I feel really great about it. Everything went well, I was very much in the moment and I knew my coffee (Colombia, El Descanso roasted by 49th Parallel) was tasting delicious. My first two rounds were pretty rough, but the finals was smooth sailing. I even had the presence of mind to do a few small touches that I was unable to do in previous rounds.
Sarah: If you could change anything that happened during your round, what would it be?
Charles: I wouldn’t want to change a thing! Obviously, if I knew more about how the judges were scoring specific parts of my routine (I was pregrinding 2/3rds of my coffee and had a strange distribution method), I could have made some adjustments but, overall, I was incredibly happy with how everything turned out. Being able to go back and change things would rob me of the opportunity to learn from the experience and move on.
Sarah: Good answer! I agree. Now, can you tell us more about what coffee were you using, and why you chose it?
Charles: I was using a coffee from Huila, Colombia: El Descanso from 49th Parallel. I love 49th’s espresso profile and when I first tasted the Descanso it was clearly the coffee I was going to use. Clean, complex, exciting blackberry sweetness. Choosing a coffee for competition is like love, you just know it when it happens. Its the excitement to share the coffee that drives one through the arduous and trying competition season.
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me, Charles, and thanks again for all the heart and soul you put into the USBC this year.
Stay tuned for our next one-on-one post-competition interview with another USBC finalist tomorrow…