I received this information yesterday and wanted to republish it here for any interested: The Specialty Coffee Association of America presents the 2008 Southwest and South Central Regional Barista Competitions hosted by Cuvee Coffee Roasting Co. Calling All Competitors, Judges and Volunteers More than 100 coffee professional will be converging on Austin October 31 through November 2 at the Radisson Town Lake in an effort to win a regional titles of South Central & Southwest Regional Barista Champions, which guarantees them a semifinal spot in the United States Barista Championship. The winners of the Austin competitions will travel to Portland, Oregon in March 2009 to vie for a chance to participate in the World Barista Championship in Atlanta, Georgia in May 2009. The competition rewards demonstrated excellence in the art and skill of preparing and serving espresso. Entrants must make 12 beverages, including four espressos, four cappuccinos and four original signature drinks of their own creation within 15 minutes in front of a panel of accomplished industry judges. Competitors are judged on taste, beverage presentation, technical skills, station cleanliness and overall impression. “The coffee culture is booming in Austin and the city has a vibe and character all its own,” said Ric Rhinehart, Executive Director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). “It is the perfect place for a barista competition and we are excited that the event will be bigger with two competition regions coming together in one place.” Cuvée Coffee Roasting Company, currently based just outside Houston but moving to Spicewood in December, is hosting the competition for the second year in a row. Major sponsors for the event include Official Espresso Machine Sponsor Nuova Simonelli, Official Grinder Sponsor Mahlkonig USA, Inc., Kerry Foods, La Marzocco, and Monin Gourmet Flavorings. A complete list of sponsors can be found on the competition Web site at www.scbarista.com. “We are honored to again host this prestigious SCAA event in Texas and to help bring together competitors who are so committed to their craft and to finding innovative approaches to preparing espresso,” said Mike McKim, president of Cuvee Coffee. “There are so many elements that go into making a perfect cup of coffee and this is always an intense competition for both competitors and onlookers.” Other coffee industry leaders from the South Central Region, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana, and the Southwest Region, which includes Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, will join the baristas at the events.