NERBC Barista Preview: Rose-Emma Lunderman

With the North East Regional Barista Championship coming up quickly, 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.

Today we chat with Rose-Emma Lunderman of Brooklyn’s Root Hill Cafe.

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

I work at Root Hill Café in Gowanus. I’ve been there for 1 year, and trained to be a barista about 8 months ago, with Teresa.

What made you decide to compete in the NERBC?

Teresa came in to check in on me at the café one day, and asked if I was interested. The idea terrified me, so I decided to go for it. Coffee is still very new to me, but what better way to put what I’ve learned to the test, and really tune up my craft? And on top of it all I get to spend hours at Dallis and with incredibly talented baristas.

What coffee did you choose to work with and why?

I’ve chosen to work with a blend: The Dominican El Lagulito as well as The Brazilian from Lot #5. The brightness and fruity “wow” of the Lagulito had me hooked right away. Although I loved the Dominican off the bat, I wanted to mellow it out with some savory, rich elements. I wanted to use a coffee from the Dallis farm, and I found the #5 mellowed out the grapefruit of the Domincan. The #5 has a beautiful cherry tobacco aspect that I just couldn’t pass up on playing with.

What can you tell us about your signature drink?

It is in the making! I’ve got the core ingredients, and am now playing with how I combine them.

What’s your training regimen been like so far?

So far, I’ve been training at the Dallis Lab one or two times a week… soon three. When we head to the lab is when I really get the opportunity to bounce off ideas with some of coffee’s best. I’m truly priveleged to have such a great group to work with. Everyone at Dallis has gone out of their way to answer any questions we’ve had. I couldn’t have asked for better informed and passionate guidance.

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?

No, this will be my first time, of what I’m sure will be many. I love the passion and heart that is involved in this business. A year ago I had no idea that any of this existed. And now I have the opportunity to spread what I’ve learned to those who also have not been exposed to the art of this industry. Not only have I been blown away by amazing tasting coffee and spirit, but the people involved are unbelievable. They care about their craft, and I that’s exactly the type of outlet I’m interested in putting my time and effort in.