BARISTA CHAMPION OF THE USA
Barista Mag: Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?
Pete: I studied Japanese and wanted to be a translator.
BMag: How did you get started in coffee?
Pete: I was studying Japanese at the cafe my friend was running. I needed a job while I was going to school and liked coffee (mostly caffeine though). I was offered a job and eventually took it!
BMag: What was your first amazing experience with coffee?
Pete: Tasting and comprehending the flavors in espresso that I was always told were there. I was closing the cafe by myself and pulled a shot to drink. That was the first incredibly exciting moment with coffee for me.
BMag: Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?
Pete: I have had many influences. Tim Wendelboe was a big one. He visited Kansas and talked about competition. I was very impressed by his professionalism and ownership of coffee. Also his European-ness…
BMag: What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?
Pete: I would like to see closer relationships between farmers/producers, roasters, and baristas as a whole. The more each of these [groups of] people understand what the other is looking for or doing, the more we can all present a cohesive product to the consumer.
BMag: Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:
Pete: Dr. Illy
BMag: Name a barista you admire, and why:
Pete: Just one?!? Chris Baca from Verve Coffee in Santa Cruz, Calif., has incredible skills and makes being a barista so much cooler that I ever could. I admire so many baristas I could name them for hours.
BMag: Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.
Pete: It’s not nice to play favorites!
BMag: Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?
Pete: Once again, too many to name. You should check out my friends at Everyman Espresso in New York.
BMag: Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?
Pete: Ethiopia. I want to see where it all began..
BMag: What are your interests outside of coffee?
Pete: Martial arts, brewing beer, skiing, Books and Brews (ask me if you want to know)
BMag: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Pete: Not competing! In 5 years I see myself living where I intend to live for a very long time and doing exactly what I want to be doing
BMag: Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?
Pete: My coach and friend Holly Bastin. She has always been able to coax the best out of me, no matter how hard I have resisted. Thanks Holly!