When you see Pete Licata, what comes to mind? ‘Dat local kine’ barista guy from Kansas? ‘The Beard?’
Not me. I think of a quiet drive up to Rusty’s Hawaiian farm in March. That’s when I tagged along with Pete to get a peek behind the prep for the 2011 U.S. Barista Championship.
Pete was trying something no barista had done before: He was picking, processing, roasting and slinging his own beverages — literally from the fruit to the cup. At this point, Pete had won the 2011 South West Regional Barista Competition with beans from Rusty's Hawaiian and Kona Coffee & Tea.
My camera followed Pete through the typica and caturra fields, then back to our little mill. Pete seemed like an old hand, picking with skill and grace. He processed his espresso with care and selected the best coffee-cherry skins for his signature drink.
I worked tirelessly to capture him on video, so that I could best tell his story in advance of the U.S. championship. Here it is: