This past weekend, finalists from the 2013 South West Regional Barista Competition (which was held in mid-March) flew to Boston to battle it out in the 2013 United States Barista Championship. Exactly fifty of the county's best baristas had just 15 minutes to prep and serve four espressos, four cappuccinos and four of their own signature beverages to a panel of judges.
Brewers—those who make drip coffee by the cup—and baristas—maestros of the espresso machine—competed together in two separate events.
Eden-Marie Abramowicz of Intelligentsia Coffee, Los Angeles led the SWRB pack. Charles Babinski of G&B (currently at SQIRL), Truman Severson of Costa Mesa's Portola Coffee Lab, and John Martin also of Intelligentsia L.A. filled four of the top five spots.
G&B's Charles Babinski, who is known to dance while waiting for water to reach temperature, competed as the region's top brewer. Tommy Kim of downtown's Cafe Dulce and Andy Kwon of Elabrew also made the top five.
Though L.A.'s best didn't win national honors in this weekend's brewer's cup, G&B's Charles Babinski again took home second place in the Barista Championship, just behind Pete Licata of Kansas City's Parisi Artisan Coffee.
Indeed, G&B is a shop to watch. Though Babinski and his partner, former barista champ Kyle Glanville, are only a pop-up operation right now, come this summer the pair will open their first real shop in Hancock Park's Larchmont Village.
2013 U.S. Barista Championship Official Site