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Two Springfield coffee makers, or baristas, will travel to St. Louis next week for the South Central Barista Competition. They are spending these last few days before the contest perfecting their programs. KSMU’s Brandon Goodwin went to one of their practices and has this report.
[Sound: “Welcome, Jacque Desmarais from the Coffee Ethic in Springfield Missouri. Jacque, is this your first time competing?”
“Yes, it is.”]
Jacque Desmarais is taking her lead from the Emcee. In this practice run, she’ll have fifteen minutes to make twelve cups of coffee: four espressos, four cappuccinos, and four of what’s called her signature drink.
“Coffee is something that I’m really passionate about. It gives me an opportunity to represent myself, as well as the shop I work for and the roaster that we use,” she said.
This is her final practice for The South Central Barista Competition in St. Louis this weekend. She’s been preparing for the past six months.
Tom Billionis owns the Coffee Ethic, where Jackie works. He’s playing Emcee for the run through.
[Sound:“Well, when you’re ready, go ahead and hit the button,”
The timer beeps. Jacque talks about her program, grinds coffee.]
A group of about fifteen friends watch from the bar. Four of them act as judges.
Jacque is multitasking. In one area she melts together butter and brown sugar on a hot plate. In another she grinds espresso beans and steams a cappuccino. All the while she talks up the “judges”.
[Sound: Jacque explaining flavors to judges.]
Jacque serves her first drink, a frothy cappuccino.
“There’s a very definitive taste that they’re looking for. They want the coffee to be balanced. A good amount of sweetness, a good amount of body, a good amount of low tones,” she said.
[Sound: “Let's hear it for Jacque’s cappuccino.”]
Amanda Taylor is one of four sensory judges in this trial run. Her job is to sit at the bar, listen to Jacque, and taste the coffee.
“It’s really delicious. I taste it all, what she’s saying,” she said.
In front of the judges is a black and white floral placemat, on top of which sits a small white plate, three spoons, a glass of water, and a small beaker, all meticulously arranged by Jacque.
She serves her signature drink in miniature wine glasses.
[Sound: Jacque talking about signature drink.]
“It’s weird because there’s a good number of learning about yourself during this. Learning how to be confident in what you’re doing behind the bar. Knowing that you were actually chosen to represent is really an honor. I make coffee for a living. I love it,” she said.
[Sound: “Time?” “Fourteen Minutes and fifty five seconds.” The crowd cheers.]
Jacque will compete Friday at 2:30pm in St. Louis. You can watch her performance live, online at www.ustream.com.
For KSMU News, I’m Brandon Goodwin.