Every year Peet’s Coffee & Tea finds the best of the best among their baristas and challenges them to make the best coffee drinks, according to Peet’s exacting standards.
From 4,000 baristas across the country, only three have been selected to compete in Thursday's finals of Peet’s Annual Barista Competition, and one of them happens to be El Granada resident Roslyn Trapanese, representing Peet’s Half Moon Bay store.
If she wins, Trapanese wins a trip to Costa Rica and a $1,000 donation on her behalf to a chosen charity.
Trapanese, who's worked at Peet’s on and off for more than 7 years, says she honestly doesn’t know how she ended up here but if she had to take a guess, “I would say my tenure with the company and a dedication to my job, as well as a deep respect for the entire process of coffee from the farmer’s green beans straight to your cappuccino,” she said.
The road to Peet's Barista Competition finals started in July of this year when all Peet’s across the company completed their yearly recertification process. That process was the catalyst for determining which barista from each store would move on to the district-level competitions.
There were then 23 district-level competitions with nearly 150 competitors across the company. Twenty-four baristas moved on to the Regionals, where three Finalists have moved on to Thursday’s competition, the sixth annual one.
Last year’s winner, Becca Moak, represented a Peet’s store in Encinitas. She’s now one of the judges. Encinitas is in the finals again, with a barista named Ray Orate representing them. The third finalist is Tara Boccaleoni, representing Peet’s Washington Square store in Petaluma.
To prepare for Thursday’s competition, Trapanese who describes her work style as “dedicated, respectful and inquisitive” is doing what she does every day: “Just making drinks for customers and my coworkers and tasting coffee and working on my craft.”
Store manager Becca Anderson describes Trapanese as "an inspiration to the entire team" and is planning to be there at the competition cheering her on.
"It’s a joy to have someone like Roslyn in our store," said Anderson. "Her passion for Peet’s is infectious. I definitely want to wish her the best of luck in the competition."
When it comes to drinking coffee, Trapanese takes it black and says her favorite is Peet’s Arabian Mocha Sanani.
“I love making it for customers because it is so unique and delicious they usually have never tried anything like it,” she said.
The finals on Thursday start at 10 a.m. at the Peet's LEED Gold Certified roasting facility in Alameda. The winner will be announced at the competition.
The format of the competition includes 15 minutes to set up, 15 minutes to make 12 drinks with the judges as their customers. The three competitors need to make four single espressos, four traditional cappuccinos and four signature beverages.
Scoring is based on the following:
• Overtime is one point penalty for every second over 15 minutes; after 16 minutes, they’re disqualified
• Sensory judges evaluate on taste and overall quality, service and presentation
• Technical judges evaluate on workflow, cleanliness, consistency and resource management
The winner will have the highest total points, winning a trip to origin in Costa Rica and a $1,000 donation on their behalf to their chosen charity.
If she wins, the first thing Trapanese is going to do in Costa Rica is walk through the coffee plants, she said.
“I have only seen one coffee plant in my life and it was a sad and tiny thing in a pot. We don’t have the proper conditions here to grow them, so it will be really exciting,” she said.
And what will she do with the $1,000?
“I’ll be donating to the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SFSPCA). I think it is really important to be an advocate for animals and the SPCA is an awesome organization that is dedicated to a no kill philosophy with a 97 percent success. It is a shelter that deserves all the support it can get!”