In Colombia, Baristas Get Double-Shot At Fame
JACKI LYDEN, Host:
NPR's Juan Forero has the story from Bogota, Colombia.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
YAKUP AYDEN: Now while you are enjoying the cappuccino, I'm going to do (unintelligible) preparation. I add some ingredients to my (unintelligible)...
JUAN FORERO: Yakup Ayden, who's 27 and from Holland, chooses the music. And then, before a battery of judges, he begins to make his coffee - espressos, cappuccinos and a signature drink, with a touch of blueberry and tamarind.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC AND BANGING)
FORERO: Unidentified Man: Ladies and gentlemen, competitor number 15, Yakup Ayden.
(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)
FORERO: Ayden says he was in his zone.
AYDEN: The coffees, they were coming out great, so I was happy. When I saw that, I knew it was good.
FORERO: Those who've made it here won championships in their home country.
(SOUNDBITE OF COFFEE PREPARATION)
FORERO: Rob Kettner, the Canadian champion, brought an odd, triple-decker contraption.
ROB KETTNER: It's a slow brew tower, which we're brewing cold coffee. It's an eight-hour extraction process. And it results in a very interesting, almost liqueur-like finish to a coffee.
FORERO: It's all about pushing the boundaries of coffee making, Kettner says.
KETTNER: It's culinary coffee at its best. It's real true coffee and it's exploring, it's the exploration of coffee and how far we can take it. And, you know, it's, it's treating coffee like wine.
FORERO: The American champion, Pete Licata, picks his own beans in Hawaii, where he lives. And he practices and practices. He knows what it take to be a champion. Licata's been competing for six years now.
PETE LICATA: Of course, with competition, you practice making cappuccinos over and over again and things like. So, I would probably say I've made over a thousand drinks just for preparation for competition, you know.
FORERO: Practice, though, is different from competing, as the Lithuanian champ pointed out.
DOMAS IVONIS: Cherries in espresso and (unintelligible) to give it more feeling to my drinks.
FORERO: Minutes after describing his signature drink to the judges, Domas Ivonis assessed his performance.
IVONIS: Yeah, it was pretty okay, but I spilled milk. The milk was splashing. I didn't control it, but...
FORERO: Juan Forero, NPR News.
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