WBC Countdown: Barista Champion of the USA Pete Licata

WBC2011

PETE LICATA
BARISTA CHAMPION OF THE USA

@petelicata

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Barista Mag: Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?

Pete: I studied Japanese and wanted to be a translator.

BMag: How did you get started in coffee?

Pete: I was studying Japanese at the cafe my friend was running. I needed a job while I was going to school and liked coffee (mostly caffeine though). I was offered a job and eventually took it!

WBC2011

BMag: What was your first amazing experience with coffee?

Pete: Tasting and comprehending the flavors in espresso that I was always told were there. I was closing the cafe by myself and pulled a shot to drink. That was the first incredibly exciting moment with coffee for me.

BMag: Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?

Pete: I have had many influences. Tim Wendelboe was a big one. He visited Kansas and talked about competition. I was very impressed by his professionalism and ownership of coffee. Also his European-ness…

BMag: What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?

Pete: I would like to see closer relationships between farmers/producers, roasters, and baristas as a whole. The more each of these [groups of] people understand what the other is looking for or doing, the more we can all present a cohesive product to the consumer.

BMag: Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:

Pete: Dr. Illy

BMag: Name a barista you admire, and why:

Pete: Just one?!? Chris Baca from Verve Coffee in Santa Cruz, Calif., has incredible skills and makes being a barista so much cooler that I ever could. I admire so many baristas I could name them for hours.

BMag: Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.

Pete: It’s not nice to play favorites!

BMag: Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?

Pete: Once again, too many to name. You should check out my friends at Everyman Espresso in New York.

BMag: Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?

Pete: Ethiopia. I want to see where it all began..

BMag: What are your interests outside of coffee?

Pete: Martial arts, brewing beer, skiing, Books and Brews (ask me if you want to know)

BMag: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Pete: Not competing! In 5 years I see myself living where I intend to live for a very long time and doing exactly what I want to be doing

BMag: Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?

Pete: My coach and friend Holly Bastin. She has always been able to coax the best out of me, no matter how hard I have resisted. Thanks Holly!

 

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.