NERBC Barista Preview: Cara Vincente

With the North East Regional Barista Competition coming up this Saturday and Sunday, we’re offering a sneak peek into the activities at our training lab in Ozone Park. As the city’s finest baristas gear up to compete for the title of best in the region, it’s time to practice, practice, and practice—with the occasional break to answer questions for our blog.

This week we’re chatting with competitor Cara Vincente from Think Coffee.

Where do you work and how long have you been in coffee?

I work at Think Coffee on Bleecker Street, and have been a barista for three years.

What made you decide to compete in the NERBC?

I want to compete for a lot of reasons: the street cred, the chance to meet other coffee people in the area, to learn more about espresso in general, and because it just seems like a fun thing to do.

What coffee did you choose to work with and why?

I am working with a single-origin espresso from El Salvador. We call it Himalaya, and it is roasted by Dallis.

What can you tell us about your signature drink?

The secret about my signature drink is that I have known what it is going to be since the summer time.  So I came into training for the competition with a flavor profile already in mind, and a theme. I first tasted the non-espresso parts of my signature drink at a Salvadoran restaurant in Brooklyn.

What’s your training regimen been like so far?

I have been training at the Dallis lab for 3-4 hours a week since November with some amazing people. I also train almost every day on my own at work.

Have you been to a competition before? What do you think is rad about it or what excites you about its role in the industry, or your role within the competition and within the greater community?

I have not competed before. In fact, I’ve never even been to those hip throwdowns everyone seems to love. I’m just excited to get out there and give it my best shot in front of the judges, have a good time, meet new friends, represent Think Coffee (and Dallis) with aplomb and hopefully learn something cool. I’m passionate about coffee, it has become a huge part of my life, in a way that I might never have expected. And with coffee in my heart now, and in the foreseeable future, I view the competition as a thing I need to do to move onward, ever onward…