By Colorado Coffee Zine
For the past 2 years, the month of November has marked the kick off season for official winter in Colorado and the barista competition known as Cherry Roast. In a heartfelt announcement from Cherry Roast founder and mastermind Elle, also known as the co-owner of Amethyst Coffee in Denver, the public learned that the third annual competition would be returning with revised eligibility parameters that better reflect the competition’s mission.
While past Cherry Roasts have been described as “female barista competitions” this year’s Cherry Roast team, led by Elle, reviewed feedback addressing the limitations inherent in those terms.
“This is a barista competition for womxn/gender non-conforming/genderqueer/transgender baristas where all of the proceeds go to the International Women’s Coffee Alliance.”
Elle described the revision as an improvement reflecting the Cherry Roast mission of empowering coffee professionals who might be overshadowed in the male dominated, heteronormative coffee industry. This Cherry Roast steps back from explicitly raising the visibility of just “women” and instead fosters a community effort to provide support across various identities who might have limited access to skill building work that creates advancement opportunities. By offering a competition setting that showcases core skills, participants can get a read on their knowledge and connect with people and resources who can help them improve.
“Cherry Roast is supposed to be fun and educational, but it’s also supposed to teach you the holes in your coffee knowledge. Competing is not about winning; competing is about being better. It’s about everyone being better.” In the Cherry Roast info session held on October 23rd Elle and the organizers invited competitors to collaborate and train for the event together, to exchange ideas and recommendations about how to succeed across the 5 unique rounds.
The Cherry Roast team designed the competition by combining aspects of various competition structures. This year’s Cherry Roast will progress as follows:
Round 1: Cup Tasters/ Triangulation
Round 2: Open Service/ Brewing
Round 3: Latte Art- 6 PM (30 points max)
Round 4: The Order: dial-in espresso, create and present 5 drinks
Final Round: Signature Beverage
The 3rd Annual Cherry Roast will be hosted in the space of Denver’s Commonwealth Coffee on November 14th and is open to baristas from anywhere who wish to compete.The competition welcomes veterans and first timers alike, acknowledging that many of the identities captured within the revised eligibility standards are often under-represented in national and international competitions.