Ithaca, New York
2005 USBC 17th place, 2006 USBC 9th place, 2007 North East Regional Champion.
Why I Compete:
"I think for me it boils down to honoring God with the gifts you are given. When it comes to competing I really love the opportunity to join with other baristas and celebrate coffee on a creative and disciplined level. As a creative person I have always needed a little more effort when it came to being disciplined in one thing or another. The competitions are a great way to build discipline while simultaneously encouraging creativity. You are willingly submitting your craftsmanship to be judged and therefore must check your pride at the door and be open to feedback in order to grow in your craft. It is a one of a kind opportunity that I really appreciate, I've grown to be a better barista because of it.
When I approach competitions my main goal is not necessarily to win although I would like to grow to that level. Most people don't win. But it is to do my best and to bring something excellent before God, the judges, and my peers. As baristas we represent coffee...a drink that is more than just a commodity it is representative of life's deeper mysteries. Shared by people world wide it is a part of the fabric of culture itself. So to simply compete to win would be to lose the greater reward of perspective.
I am so blessed to be a part of this thing called coffee and as I start to think of next years competition and reflect back on this past one I am excited to see what new things I will learn and thankful for all the things I have learned and experienced so far.
'And whatever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord and not to men.' Colossians 3:23 "
Chris Deferio - Carriage House Cafe
Judging from Chris and many other competitors' wardrobe choice, black is the new color in barista fashion. His setting was a wood plank across the table, straight sided glasses, brown napkins, white flared sugar bowls; it set the mood of simplicity, complemented by music of gentle violin and guitar.
Chris explained that his espresso is a "friends' blend": Four different coffees from four friends. He dosed coffee with a short rattle on the doser and thumb return. His technique includes a slight updose with north/south swipe and short Stockfleths move. Tamped with a single tap and twist.
Quick distribution with north/south sweep
As he prepared his espresso, he elaborated on how a blend is give and take, like with people. Each part of the coffee loses part of itself for the better. He said the judges would notice the soft, open brightness from Kenya, with other coffees contributing tropic fruit and a chocolaty, light smoky finish.
He used a specialty milk with 4% milk fat, which carries espresso nicely while adding complimentary body. Like most competitors, drinks were prepared in pairs. He poured heart shaped latte art ("because I love you" he joked to the judges) and narrow low volume white tulip cappuccino cups. By Deferio standards, quite ordinary pours; perhaps he wished to emphasis the drink's taste over appearance? Nice dark crema ring.
No fussing over fancy latte art
For the signature drink, "Campfire", Chris again evoked the theme of community and coffee, as friends would be gathered around a campfire. The drink featured chocolate ganache with cream heated over a Sterno, hickory smoked vanilla bean, split and chopped. Espresso served overtop. In an unexpected twist, he used a "smoking gun" device to infuse the drink in smoke.
Smoke infused drinks as tribute to campfire and friends
The granite slab coaster and dark cup were covered with a glass and he used the device to fill the glass with essence of campfire. Comfort of something familiar, lingerer memories of friendship. Chris' performance evoked a strong sense of mood. He instructed judges to lift glasses at once.
White globes behind water glasses are smoke-filled enclosures of signature drink