Superstars

Let’s thank the woman who is making all these regional barista competitions possible, first off. She’s one of my best friends and one of the specialty coffee industry’s shining stars, Miss Michelle Campbell of the Specialty Coffee Association of America! And no one deserves to have a glamor shot on our blog more than Missy:

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And now, for our most recent winners… The first ever Southwest Regional Barista Competition kicked off in Vegas, baby, in conjunction with the International Bar Show. So that means many of the passers-by to the competition were more than a little loaded, according to our pal, Phuong Tran, who volunteered as a runner during the regional. With only two in-region competitors, it was the smallest regional yet, but luckily a lot of out-of-region folks used the time to practice for their upcoming competitions, such as the guys at Intelligentsia. Ryan Willbur posted quite a bit about the competition experience on his blog, so check it out. Also, I stole this photo of SW Regional nightlife (below) from Ryan’s Flickr:

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But at the end of the competition, one man was declared the first-ever Southwest Regional Barista Champion, and he is Jason Calhoon, an independent barista from Tucsan, Arizona. Congratulations, Jason, and see you at the USBC in Minneapolis!

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(Jason is on the left)

Our Michelle Campbell hopped onto the SCAA jet immediately following the awards ceremony in Vegas and headed for Denver, Colo., arriving just in time to get the first-ever Mountain Regional Barista Competition off to a terrific start. Graciously hosted by Allegro Coffee, The Mountain Regional was well attended and drew a large crowd of first-time competitors. In the end, the winner was some guy named John Louis… ever heard of him? Oh wait, that’s Jon Lewis, who would be unanimously voted prom king of the barista community if we had such a thing.

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And here are first, second and third place winners…

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Now, pay particular attention to the guy at left: that’s Nolan Dutton, second-place finisher, and I point him out because he will be representing the Mountain Region at the USBC in May. This is because Jon and his wife, Kendall, are expecting their second child right when Jon would be taking the stage at the USBC. And well, the man’s got priorities.

Congratulations to Jon, Nolan, and all the terrific baristas who participated in the Mountain Regional Barista Competition!

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