Hello all!

This is my first post around here, which is kind of cool.

I was just wondering if anyone could tell me about what to plan for money-wise to take part in a competition? I've wanted to sign up for the last couple of years, but have yet to get up the guts and round up all the needed things.
I work in a small town shop, and the owner is supportive of me jumping into competition, but it would help if I could give her a ballpark number ahead of time.

Also, I plan on being at Coffee Fest in Chicago this coming year and I think it would be cool to get to know some of my fellow coffee geeks. Last time I was completely in awe of the vast amount of coffee geekness that I stayed in my shell, I want this time to be different. Anyone have ideas or know of any local spots the baristas seem to gather in?

Thanks and I look forward getting to know you guys.
Cherie S.

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A good place to connect before coffee fest would be attending the Great Lakes Barista Jam comin up in October. Go to www.greatlakescoffeealliance.com for more info.
Regarding the expense of competing, it would be hard to just give you a number. I believe someone posted a thread on the barista guilds forum that included a checklist of sorts for competition. I would go through the list and cost things out. Last year for regionals I think I spent close to $400 for all my supplies. Glassware is probably going to be your biggest expense. If you don't find that list I was refering to let me know. I've got mine from last year somewhere and I know Barista Magazine had one in an issue before Nationals. Hope that helps. cheers

I've never competed, but working on the supply side of the industry, I've seen the back end of several competitions. You may want to see if your store's suppliers might be interested in sponsoring you.

Sponsors can donate consumables (coffee, syrups, etc.) for you to practice and compete with, and if you have a local roaster, they should have an espresso machine (preferably WBC-certified) available to practice on so you don't have to tie up the shop's.

If a competition is taking place alongside a trade show like Coffee Fest, see if your suppliers plan to attend or are interested in attending. You may be able to share travel and boarding expenses. And if that doesn't work, you can probably find a co-op of Barista Exchange members to bum a ride with.

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