NERBC Barista Preview: Tommy Green

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.

This week we’re starting off with competitor Tommy Green from Tiny’s Giant.

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

I’m working at Tiny’s Giant Sandwich Shop in the Lower East Side. Been working in coffee for about 5 months now.

What made you decide to compete in the NERBC?

I was watching some videos of old competitions a year or 2 ago and thought it was pretty interesting. so when the chance was presented to me i decided to dive in head first…also i was only a barista for about 3 months when i made the decision.

What coffee did you choose to work with and why?

i wanted something with a nice red fruit and after cupping a few coffees i chose the Las Amzonas from Honduras. After tasting it on its own it needed something else to round out the bitternesss and really increase the juiciness. After trying 2 or 3 different Kenyans and Ethiopians, I chose to go with the Liquidambar which won the brewers cup last year and is also from Honduras. once blended with the Los Amazonas it gave me right what i was looking for and a little bit more. so I’ve got 2 Honduran coffees that create a juicy red fruit a nice chocolate/slight lemon rind bitterness and have been getting an interesting key lime finish.

What can you tell us about your signature drink?

As far as signature drink I’m still in the process of collecting the parts to make it come to life. as of now I’ve got some puréed raspberry/blueberry and possibly a tiny bit of cream. Still in the early stages

What’s your training regimen been like so far?

I’ve been training since late November/early December at the Dallis training lab, with 3 other great baristas and also the best training staff a guy or gal could want. Once a week and the last 3 weeks have added an extra day in there since the competition is edging near. Basically we’ve been doing time trials and tweaking blends. Also we’ve brought in a lot of interesting foods to taste so we could compare them to bitterness, sweetness, and acidity that we might find in our espresso. And just having fun being crazy weird and nerding out about coffee.

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’ve never been to a competition before. I think it’s really great for the industry because the regions best baristas are showcased along with the roasters. with the baristas usually creating the most crazy and delicious drinks that most people wouldn’t think to create in their wildest dreams.