Last Week With Ben Blake: Week of May 18th, 2013

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Symposium Colloqium: Peter Giuliano

For part two of our ongoing Symposium Colloquium series, we sat down with SCAA Symposium Director Peter Giuliano to talk to him about his new role, his visions for the future, and why Symp 2013 was a resounding success.

You may remember that for the first time, all of the Symposium talks will be released online and made available to the public. This is a fantastic opportunity to join in on the ongoing conversations that surround our industry today and to keep it going long pastiche short window of the SCAA Symposium and Expo

Check out our interview with Mr. Giuliano, then head over to the Symposium website to watch his entire Symposium Welcome Address “The Coffee Symposium.”

Gettin’ Paid: The Results From Our International Barista Income Survey

Well, this one was quite a corker. To get a sense of what baristas around the world were making, we put together a little survey during SCAA that asked questions surrounding barista wages. Well, 350 respondents later, the results are in, and Sprudge Staff Writer Alex Bernson has graphs, infographics, and breakdown to help explain our findings.

The results are interesting, to say the least, and give us a glimpse into trends that are taking place in the workplace for baristas. More from Mr. Bernson:

Ultimately, the question is how can we raise these incomes across the board. Certainly this survey showed that there are baristas who are doing pretty well for themselves, but their is still much room for improvement, especially in cities like London. It is also crucial to remember that while these hourly rates may seem pretty good, the short length of barista shifts make for a lower overall income. Most worrying to me in the US is the relatively small difference in income between baristas with 1-3 years experience and those with over 4 years experience–this seems to suggest that the dream of the “professional barista” who is properly rewarded for their dedication is still a long way off.

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There is certainly a lot of data to digest within the findings, and it seems for certain that this conversation is not slowing down any time soon – see, for example, James Hoffmann’s response essay on JimSeven.com. On our end, the biggest bit of feedback received was that the polling info we reported from Australia seemed a bit wonky – the wage numbers were a good bit higher than what many experienced Australian baristas considered average. Maybe our numbers were affected by small sample size? Maybe there was a bit of leg yanking from some of the initial responders? Regardless, we chose Australia as the next area of inquiry for coffee wage polling, and thus we’ve released a comprehensive Australian Barista Income Poll.

If you’re involved in the coffee scene in Australia, please take a few moments to take the poll and spread it around to your mates.

Strand Talks New Stumptown and Intelligentsia Cafes

New York’s scoopiest coffee writer is Oliver Strand. This week, Mr. Strand featured the soon-to-be-opened Stumptown and Intelligentsia NYC locations in a column. This feature has everything: key insights into the focus of each location, hefty cups, mosaic-tiled lobbies, toffee notes in an Eva Solo, and James Fairbrass preparing coffee at a brew bar.

Thanks to some hefty quotage from Stephen Morrissey, Mr. Strand paints a nice picture of the craft that goes into brewing coffee at locations like these. Both locations are set to open within the coming week, if all goes as planned.

Baristas of the World: Roll Call Video
We’ve been stalking Barista Champs from all over the world on Facebook, gathering photos, twitter names, and anything else we could find in preparation for next week’s World Barista Championship event in Melbourne.

So, before everything gets crazy, and before the festivities get started down under, we wanted to share with you the Facebook pics of some of this year’s World Barista Champs – some but not all however, because not all of the champs are on Facebook! Sorry Taiwan, we love you, no disrespect we promise.

To make things more fun and digestible, we’ve put together these photos in a sing-a-long video of the national champs, in the tradition of the Animaniacs “50 State Capitals” song. Enjoy!

Speaking of champs…
Full Scores for all 39 USBC Competitors Released
Earlier this week the USBC released a full breakdown of all the scores and placements at the 2013 United States Barista Championship in Boston. The complete list is a unique insight into each round of the USBC, and is a true testament to the immense field of talent represented at the event. You won’t want to miss this list.

Over on the UK side of things, Sprudge contributor Elyse Bouvier’s UKBC coverage continues with:
An Interview with UK Brewer’s Cup Champ Sang Ho Park
A Sit-Down down with UK Aeropress Champ— Talkhouse’s Isa Verschraegen

5 Questions For Nick Cho
Breaking late this week was news that Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters would be leaving their pop up space in San Francisco’s Firehouse 8. In fact, the last day of service was on Friday. We took a bit of time to get the scoop from co-owner Nick Cho on what’s going on at Wrecking Ball and what’s in store for the future.

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