Aaron Blanco is the sort of barista who describes a particular coffee bean as “brooding” and “mysterious” and another as exuding a taste of “candied strawberry and red berries smothered in milk chocolate.”
And that’s without any cream or sugar added. In fact, at Blanco’s homegrown coffee bar, Brown Coffee Company, you won’t find any milk or sweeteners for your morning cup, the better to accentuate the bean itself.
If that sounds like a bitter cup to swallow, consider this: Blanco, 38, recently roasted and steamed his way into the U.S. Barista Championship, having advanced beyond the South Central Regional Barista Competition in Austin.
He’ll travel to Anaheim, Calif., next week to compete against 49 other baristas from across the nation.
He defines himself as “a purist.”
“Coffee’s a fruit,” Blanco said, “so it should taste sweet, like a fruit, if you do your job right.”
Brown Coffee Co. is in my neighborhood near the Deco District, and every time I visit I learn something new. On that note, here’s an instructional video about the Chemex coffee maker Aaron uses.