NERBC Barista Preview: Mike DeJesus
With the North East Regional Barista Championship coming up in a few short days, we’re offering a sneak peek into the activities at our training lab in Ozone Park (and basements in Long Island). 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.
We finally pinned down our very own Mikey DeJesus to answer a few questions about competition!
Where do you work and how long have you been in coffee?
I have been in “da biz” for over 7 years. 5 as a service tech. Now over 2 years with Dallis Bros. coffee as a sales rep and service tech.
What made you decide to compete in the NERBC?
With everything going on I have been asking my self WHY did I decide to do this? I defy anyone to not want to compete after listening to World Barista Champ Gwilym Davies talk about competing. I decided to throw my hat into the ring to push myself to be a better barista. And have fun doing so.
What coffee did you choose to work with and why?
I chose two different microlots from Colombia: our Andino Especial and the Finca Monte Redonda Narino, along with and a Brazil, the #5 microlot, Catuai—from our farm, Nossa Senhora Aparecida. The reason I picked these coffees was because they played so well together.
What can you tell us about your signature drink?
I can tell you working on my sig bev has been harder then I thought. If I pull it off it will be delicious.
What’s your training regimen been like so far?
I practice every time I train the staff of my new accounts. But I did the most of my training in my basement cafe. There have been too many sleepless nights due to over caffienation. That is where I worked on my blend, my timing and my idea for signature beverage.
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 went to the WBC in Atlanta a few years back and was shocked at the level the baristas’ skills. They were the rockstars of the coffee world to me at that time. I think these competitions are great because they help to push the industry forward.
Things like this and throwdowns help to show people that don’t know yet how great coffee can be.