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South West Barista Competition Draws Foodies, Coffeelitists

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Baristas hailing from Hawaii to Colorado to sunny L.A. brewed their hearts out last weekend to compete for the No. 1 title at the South West Regional Barista Competition. Out of the 36 competitors to perform in rounds one and two on Friday and Saturday, six went on to compete in Sunday's finals. In the end, Pete Licata of Honolulu Coffee Co. took home the top prize, while local barista Nikolas Krankl (who represented Gelato Bar & Espresso Cafe of Studio City and Los Feliz) placed second.

Competitors were allowed to use their own ingredients and bring their own equipment, but were required to use the espresso machine provided by the event's sponsor, Nuova Simonelli. Each barista had 45 minutes total to prepare, perform and clean up, and were critiqued by seven judges based on criteria like taste & tactile balance, accessories used in serving (spoon, napkin & water...check!), the color and consistency of the creme, professionalism, whether espresso extraction times were "within a 3-second variance of each other" and...you get the idea.