James Oller, Peet’s Coffee & Tea
Suzette Hammonds, who works at the original Peet's location on Vine Street in Berkeley celebrates winning the National Barista Competition.
After months of competitions, the world finally knows which Peet’s Coffee & Tea barista is the best. And its fitting Peet's best barista works in Berkeley at the store that launched the company.
Peet's held its second annual National Barista Competition finals, which pits four baristas from across the country against each other in an epic brew to the end. The baristas competed against more than 4,000 coffee enthusiasts and survived rounds of grueling competitions to make their way to the final showdown in the Bay Area.
About 180 invited guests were on hand to see Suzette “Sooz” Hammonds of El Cerrito, Calif. pull away from the crowd. The baristas were judged 'by an expert panel of four sensory judges, two technical judges and one head judge" for the technical quality and taste of their cup.
The baristas brewed 12 drinks in 15 minutes, at Peet’s Alameda, Calif. roasting facility, before the judges put their lips to the foam.
Finalists brewed their way to the National Competition by winning at the store, district, and regional levels from among 4,000 Peet’s baristas. In keeping with the international barista competition standards, Peet’s baristas are evaluated based on the quality of taste and preparation standards for beverages, quality of service, and quality of overall presentation.
There were two Bay Area participants along with a San Diego entry and a Portland, Oregon barista.