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Reports From the Road
SCAA Long Beach 2007 - Day 3
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: May 7, 2007
Article rating: 9.6
feedback: (9) comments | read | write
 
Pete Licata - USBC Finals
Posted by Mark Prince, 1:30pm Permalink to this blog entry
Click for larger image

Jeff Taylor and I go way, way back. As one of the principals involved with PT's Coffee, he's always been focused on quality coffee and espresso, but where I really know Jeff is in his involvement with barista competitions - which stretches back into the dark ages. We've had our ups and downs, our opinion differences (and many more similarities) on competitions, but always remained friends, which for me speaks volumes about him and his company - Jeff could easily dislike me for some of my own strong minded opinions, but I think he's always respected them, if not alway agreeing with them.

So why I am I mentioning all this personal stuff at the start of a blog entry for Pete Licata? Well, the thing is, I don't know Pete that well - if at all. And it's all my fault. Pete's been a staple at many competitions in the past, but I just never tried much to enter into discussion with him, and I'm ashamed to say, I never really watched a full performance by Pete in the past - at most, I caught snippets. So this time around, for the USBC finals, Pete was one of the competitors I was determined to watch from start to finish - and to present as one of the few Finalist day competitors on this final day at the SCAA show.

What did I see? In a word, wow. In two words, polished professional. In three: a passionate, dedicated barista.

I saw a consummate professional, someone who just knows so much about the art and science of quality espresso and coffee that you would think he was born that way. His shots were absolutely spot on; he showed amazing grace and skill the entire fifteen minutes; his capps and sig builds were solid, and I should point out, in competitions, Pete is serious... deadly serious. For him, crafting quality espresso seems to be given every iota of respect he can give it, and it comes through. Not much smiling in the routine, which is why I was almost caught by surprise at the end when, after serving the four signature drinks to the judges, Pete had a fifth, which I thought was for the head judge. But instead, he grabbed it himself, saluted and toasted the judges, and with a broad grin, shared the drink with them before calling time on his routine.

Pete did awesome. If he doesn't win this, he's gotta be in the top three! Enjoy some photos of his competition routine.

(ed note: Pete indeed did finish as the 2nd best Barista in the US - only a scant few points behind winner Heather Perry).

Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Checking, Starting
Pete Licata, at the start of his finals round competition at the USBC.
Building
As I remember it, Pete's sig required a full build over the entire 15 minute round.
Working on the Sig
Getting elements ready early on.
Ice Ice Baby
Pete talking to the judges about his coffee while prepping. Love "The Pete" :)
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Second stage
Unfortunately, I'm skipping over the espresso and capp - my photos were off and blurry. Here's Pete working his sig again.
Watching on
Both Michelle Campbell and Nick Cho (Emcee in the Finals) watching on.
Judge scoring
Andrew Barnett, with a scoresheet already full of copious notes, remarking on sig build.
Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image
Carbonation!
Pete was showing a growing trend in competitions - carbonating the sig drink!
Serving it up
Pete, with plenty of time to spare, serving the sig drink to the judges.
A toast!
Pete takes the fifth glass for himself, and salutes the judges!
Time!
Comp over, talking to Nick. Note one judges' drink is almost empty in the background. Good sign all around.
Article rating: 9.6
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: May 7, 2007
feedback: (9) comments | read | write
Reports From the Road Column Archives  
Column Description
One of the more popular pieces of content on the CoffeeGeek website are the reports from major trade shows. We cover shows like no other media source does - giving first hand intimate and frank reports that give you the real scoop on what's going on, from a consumer and a coffee lover's true perspective.

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