USbc: just like the pros

May 7, 2008 – 9:02 pm

the usbc live feed — in double-take mall stereo — with free accompanying shots from c-n-c‘s hudgens.

as long as we were jaw-hanging in front of the u.s. barista championship live feed, this blog figured we might as well jam something in that jaw — signature beverages, for example. thus, our own private USbc, with gory ripoffs of real live sigs! or, perhaps, the most surreal sigs to shake the stage and judges’ composure in minneapolis this weekend.

* you might be under the impression that perennial barista contender billy wilson failed to make the finals because he accidentally grabbed the unhomogenized milk for his cappuccinos. might we submit that the, ah, BLUE CHEESE beverage had something to do with it? ahem:


sure, it looks all decadent and affogato-ey. we even wondered if the overwhelming stench might make the spro taste all the better — by contrast. alas, we let this beverage sit so long in the photographing that by the time we got around to swilling that shot of PNG red mountain it was thoroughly infused with putrifying fromage. or was the putrifying fromage thoroughly infused with spro?

in any case, this blog immediately went streaking off, its hand over its mouth, in search of a brookstone store where we could deposit our dry heaves. then came one of those damp, post-traumatic periods where the whole body tenses and trembles, acutely aware that the slightest stimulus could push you over the edge of the Humiliating Cliff of Public Puking. a slight southerly pollen breeze? RALPH! a tiny glance at the offending spro cup? PBBFFFTTSSNXXXGG.

shannon, for his part, had some trouble serving the next customer with a professional visage.

we should note that billy didn’t actually use blue cheese in his signature beverage. he only conjured it, verbally and with bay leaves and such. but, frankly, the mere act of conjuring is now more than enough to make us … you know.

* if the taste judges appeared to hold poker faces when competitor patrick adam pierce talked up “the world’s hottest pepper” in his signature beverage, they were weeping inside. so did we:


frankly, we either got a bum pepper, or all the mean tongue spikes leaked out and got neutered in our spro. it wasn’t so much hot as it was a taste of summer road burn and overheated inner tube.

* the big beverage trend this year, of course, was sea salt, and we can sort of understand the multi-competitor phenomenon. we partook of our salty chunklets in the upper-class boho method: pour salt on public counter top. moisten pinky and daub in the granules. lick. chase it with the red mountain and you get … nothing. nothing high, nothing low, and barely any of the peanut middle. virtually all the flavors of our png were completely neutralized, rendered moot, void and slightly saline by the offsetting brine.

this makes a certain measure of sense, especially if your routine follows habanero boy. the poor judges, they’re likely to mightily mistrust themselves and err on the side of charity, no? a six for balance!

there is, of course, the other consumption method:

(photo blurred to obscure any suggestion of illegal activity.)

by this point, alas, we’d coughed and heaved enough for one afternoon.