If only it was finals season–perhaps then we’d have a proper reason to down unhealthy amounts of caffeine this weekend. From Mar. 28-31, the Gaia Arts Center will host the 2008 Western Regional Barista Competition to see which California or Hawaii pros can brew the most outstanding cup o’ joe under massive pressure. And if you didn’t catch the hint–yes, there will be free coffee and espresso, compliments of regional roasters who want to show off their skills.

Along with the free cups, the competition treats spectators to coffee talks, a coffee-themed art exhibit and workshops on “cupping” and “taste thresholds.” The contest itself basically runs like any other cooking competition you watch on the Food Network, boasting a live audience, ridiculous time limit, savvy judges and all.

Pacific Bay Coffee Co. & Micro-Roastery of Walnut Creek is hosting and competing in the event. No word yet on whether a barista from the Berkeley staple–Peet’s Coffee and Tea–will make an appearance, but we’ll bet the live audience will be more than half full of caffeine-loving Cal students.

Image Source: Patrici Flores

Western Regional Barista Competition [Website]

Kerry Laird said:
Mar 24, 2008 at 4:29 pm

No competitors from Peets, but there will be 36 competitors from 24 cafe and roasteries all over norhtern & southern California and even out of the region competitors from Washington practicing for the US Barista Championships in May. Southern California Heather Perry, current and two time US Champion and 2nd Place finisher at the 2007 World Competition will be giving every one a run for it again too. Fun stuff.