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Kansas City barista Pete Licata takes world title

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Tuesday, May 28, 2013, at 1:28 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, May 28, 2013, at 10:04 p.m.

Kansas City barista Pete Licata got a taste of international glory over the weekend.

Licata, the quality assurance manager at Parisi Artisan Coffee in Kansas City, won the 2013 World Barista Championship on Sunday in Melbourne, Australia.

Representing the United States, he competed against champion baristas from more than 50 countries in two semifinal rounds before taking the title. Licata stayed over in Australia for a few days and couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

The international competition followed Licata’s championship ride through regional and national competitions in the United States. In April, he won the 2013 U.S. barista championship during a matchup in Boston. The event is sponsored by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, a trade group that lists 9,000 members, including producers, farmers, retailers and baristas.

Licata and winners from other countries then went bean to bean in the Australia competition. Each contestant gave a 15-minute performance, chatting about their drinks while preparing espressos, cappuccinos and an original signature drink for the judges.

The baristas were judged on their technical expertise, the consistency of their drinks and the presentation, which should come off as a five-star performance. And of course there’s the taste of their coffees.

For his specialty drink, Licata created a non-alcoholic coffee cocktail. He used chilled palm sugar triple syrup combined with an espresso shot over ice and two-and-a-half droppers of non-alcoholic bitters with orange peel and lemongrass. The drink will soon be available at the Parisi Cafes in Leawood and Union Station.

Licata has honed his presentation skills through seven competitions. He twice finished second in the national event and then took home the first place trophy in 2011. At the time he was working in Hawaii. That year, he came in second place in the world competition in Colombia.

He planned to enter the 2013 world competition for one last shot at the title before retiring from the competition to mentor up-and-coming baristas.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.

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