A cup of coffee is something that plays an important role in many of our lives. Some folks can’t function until they’re three cups in; some use coffee as context for meet-ups and maybe even the occasional passive pretext for a hot hook-up. There may be people out there who don’t think about coffee every day but I, for one, do not speak their language. Still, there is an all-together more fascinating breed of coffee people lurking about in the shadows; people who seemingly bleed coffee.
RVA Barista Jam made its debut almost a year ago in March of 2010 at the very same Carytown coffee house. Co-founded by David Blanchard of Blanchard’s Coffee Company and Stephen T Robertson (yours truly), the Barista Jam is an event designed to educate coffee consumers and promote coffee professionals through competition events held at local coffee houses.
Believe it or not, there is a large and vibrant worldwide culture built around barista competitions such as the World Barista Championship. A barista jam is a small, informal, grassroots version of these regional or worldwide competitions. So you’re probably thinking “how does it work?”
Over the course of two hours, about a dozen baristas from shops throughout the city prepare espresso and latte/cappuccino for a panel of three judges who rate each competitor on flavor, balance and structure of the drink. The judges rank the competitors and the winner gets a cash prize. There are prizes for runners up as well and each competitor can offer up a drink for sale to the highest cash bidder. Combined with the delicious food, beer and wine available at Ellwood’s Café, this friendly competition and banter with the audience turns into a lively party that is fun even if you’re not an espresso nut!
This year the RVA Barista Jam, in an effort to further engage the community, has reached out to a variety of local businesses to sponsor the event with small donations of gift certificates and items to be raffled off with all proceeds being donated to a different local charity for each event. This event’s charity is the Central Virginia Food Bank. The Barista Jam is free to attend and compete, though there are very few competitor slots remaining. Guests are asked to patronize the host, Ellwood’s Café and either donate a non-perishable food item or purchase a prize raffle to help the CVFB.
If you love coffee or just need something fun to do with your Wednesday evening, join local supporters like River City Roller Girls, GayRVA, Lamplighter Roasting Co., Blanchard’s Coffee Co., Farm to Family, Green Duck Compostables, GlobeHopper CoffeeHouse and many more for a couple hours of great fun cheering on Richmond’s most talented baristas! You can find RVA Barista Jam on Facebook, Twitter, at RVABaristaJam.com and at RVABaristaJam@gmail.com.
D’lish’s Drew Thomasson moved back to Virginia to start a family business. Learn more about his bakery and cafe.May 31, 2012
- A Cup Of Coffee And A Slice Of Time With Alan Smith, November 17, 2011
- RVA Coffee Culture in 2010, December 28, 2010
- Coffee For The Athlete’s Soul, December 6, 2010
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