Big news from the Specialty Coffee Association of America: the 2011 United States Barista Championship regional competitions have been conglomerated into a fractional faction of super groups. Goodbye, Great Lakes! See you later, Mountain Regional. You’ve been lumped together for the sake of efficiency. From ten conferences to 6, your new national regions are Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest, Southcentral, and Northcentral.
The good news is, by making our regions smaller (and charging more for registration – how much more? it’s speculated the fee will jump from $50 to $500, but the SCAA has remained silent so far) the SCAA is bound to be left with a heap of extra cash on hand. Here’s a bit of unsolicited suggestion: this year’s mega-regionals should be held at posh, flash, and otherwise utterly fabulous sites around the USA. Here’s a list to get you started, USBC Board of Directors! You’re welcome!For the west coast conglomogroup, make an inquiry to the management of Hearst Castle. Located on the central coast of California. Hearst Castle is the closest thing the USA has to a European-style fortress estate. Built at the turn of the century by noted preo-con gossip magnate William Randolph Hearst, this facility offers expansive gardens, a bevy of ornate dining halls/competition grounds, and private Louis XIV lodging for more than 100 guests.
The Mountain, Midwest and Southwest conferences could be slated to meet at one or two possible locales. Why not place a bid to hold the event at the Alamo National Historic site, in San Antonio, Texas? Though some may raise fears over the effects of humidity and mortar dust on the competitor’s shots, we feel the Alamo would be a fitting pitch for this megagroup battle.Another possibility is The Stanley Hotel, Colorado alpine paradise where Stanley Kubric’s “The Shining” was filmed. The event would benefit from ghostly barista barmen, haunted shots, and an “Elevator of Blood” signature beverage to rival Croatian Champion Nik Orosi’s legendary “River of Blood” routine from WBC 2007. For the merging of MARBC and NERBC, our first suggestion is the Kennedy family compound on Martha’s Vineyard; similarly, the Bronx’s mock-UFO World’s Fair pavilion should be placed under consideration. Or why not book a block on the Atlantic City boardwalk? Salt water taffy and quarter-slot gambling would pair nicely with the “needs” of the specialty coffee community.
But enough with the innuendo. Here’s our REAL first-choice must try venues for this year’s slate of SCAA events (and SCAA, please take a cue from the Dutch Barista Championships and serve some booze between competitors. Proceeds to CoffeeKids?
Northwest: R Place, Seattle (with afterparty at The Pony)
Northcentral: The Eagle, Chicago
Northeast: Fire Island, New York
Southwest: Boom Boom Room, San Diego
Southcentral: Rainbow Cattle Co, Austin TX
Southeast: Miami Beach, Miami (anywhere on the strip, it doesn’t matter)