this particular outpost on the interwoven webs happens to be bereft of a camera cable, meaning the imagery we have to back up this assertion will have to wait: the southeast regional barista competition is in a setting so fitting, so surprisingly good, so accessible to both artisans and the common man that it makes attending this year’s installment a rare relaxing pleasure. it’s an all-around aesthetic experience, as complementary of the baristi on the center stage as you might forbid yourself to hope.
as always, we’re not really versed on who’s behind it all, which is the way this blog prefers to keep it. all we know is, it’s been five years now, and never before have we felt truly pleased to be in a spectator seat. there’s light streaming in a high-mounted panel of paint-streaked warehouse panes. there’s epic, stare-worthy art holding up the four corners of a raffish space, and ramps and metal crosshatches and sumptuous arched doorways in their golden drapes and an ideally central stage for baristi who speak toward one side and are applauded from two others. there’s sunken space perfect for yakking, munching, slurping or chasing blogchildren, but not so far from the pit of action that you miss the thrum and thump.
we can’t wait until hudgens gets here. “see?!” we’ll say.
and of course, the burgeoning hotlanta juggernaut of hipster pain that is the octane barista staff is in the middle of it all, dominating the finals — three out of six — and drawing a live chorus that’s almost medieval in its raucousness. stalwart blogfriend danielle is in there, along with “habanero” josh flail and, uh, crystal. this blog bailed early with the restless progeny to try on suits at h&m, where it got the text: “danielle 3. crystal 6. josh 1.”
which we thought must be some sort of street code for someone’s monthly order of hasheesh, mistakenly sent to the blogphone.
none of the south carolina valiants are through. not jared of charleston’s admirable metto coffee, or dave the independent purveyor. both, it turns out, turned in distinctive performances.
and oh, the zombies showed up, which sort of offset this blog’s presence on the credibil-o-meter.
tomorrow’s final puck drop: dale donchey, dave delchamps and travis edwards appear to be the others in the mix. noise is expected.