Standard-bearer industry misanthrope Tony Konecny holds court on all things Specialty in this excellent interview over at Food GPS:
From a barista perspective, Barista competitions are driving a lot of innovation. They can make a barista a better barista. And they’ve allowed a lot of us in the industry to come together and wrestle with some fundamental elements of our craft that have made everything in our industry a little better. But on the flipside, the intense focus on the barista has been detrimental to what we’re doing in coffee, maybe it’s time has passed…the message that barista’ing as a craft, or as a possible career avenue, is something to be taken seriously. That message is pretty well established. I don’t think it has a lot of buy-in out in the consumer culture yet, and I think there’s some valid skepticism about the cult of the barista that has emerged. We can start to move beyond that.