This year's Northwest Regional Barista Competition was at theTacoma Convention Center and the competition was fierce (the top two competitors were only a half a point apart!). I had the opportunity to be a sensory judge, witnessing firsthand some of the awesomeness of what was being presented. Espressos and Cappuccinos were all top-notch, exploding with fruit or chocolate or floral bitters. Table settings were immaculate and wares were polished and flawless, and the baristas themselves spared no time or effort in looking sharp themselves. If any six of this year's NWRBC participantswould have made it to the finals round I would not have been surprised.
The Northwest really showed its colors this season and proved itself to be the region to beat this year. Of course, none of the other regional competitions have happened yet (SERBC this weekend, go Chandler and Cody!), and I'm sure they're gonig to notice an improvement in the overall competitor pool as well. It's getting tougher and tougher to be competitive, which must mean the competitions are acheiving their goal: the overall improvement of espresso understanding (or competition understanding). I was fortunate to meet some great folks, see some coffee people I only get to see at events, play with Bunn's Trifecta for a few hours, and even enter a competition myself (more on that later). Every year I do this, I am glad to have participated, not just for the weekend itself, but for the community it brings together. Highly recommended activity. Sign up to volunteer now!