Omnivore - Coffee quest: Journeys into the 2011 South Eastern Barista Competition

Espresso stories from this weekend.


Sunday mornings in Atlanta can be wonderful. People are too preoccupied with the lovely weather, church, or just good old-fashioned lazy day doing to be bothered to get in those new-fangled contraptions we call cars and clog the streets as is usual in Atlanta. This is incredibly fortuitous if you are attempting to find Building B in the Georgia World Congress Center to go to the South East Barista Competition.

Driving up and down Northside Drive might drive you insane while looking for the coffee competition: there is a building that says "A" and then "C" but, inexplicably no "B." Unless you happen upon a friendly loading dock security guard who gives you a Narnia-esque litany of directions to the elusive building B, you may never know you actually have to go to through the Omni Hotel to get there.

So what happens when you actually get there (and the whole time the competition was actually in Building A, and several rooms away from the directions you've been given)? Well, it feels kind of like a golf match. You sit in a room surrounded by people who look kind of like they were burped out by Decatur or Little Five Points (but don't worry, you fit in) in almost utter silence as they watch and listen to a man describe the merits of his drip coffee technique.