Born and raised in Pleasant Hill, MO, Professor Bean Simeon Bricker didn’t really think of a career in coffee; however, that all changed three years ago. Simeon has a degree in studio art from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, but it wasn’t long before he made the transition into latte art. In addition to keeping us caffeinated with his expertly crafted concoctions and up-to-date on all things coffee, Simeon has competed (and won) on both the national and world stages in latte art, taking fourth place in this year’s National Latte Art Exhibition.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Simeon and learn a little more about his barista and coffee competition experiences. Check out our Q&A with Professor Bean himself:
What was your first barista competition like?
My first competition was a local Latte Art Throwdown in Topeka. I ended up losing in the semi-finals to the current world barista champion from Guatemala, Alejandro Mendez. As we waited our turn to throwdown, I asked how he prepared for competitions and he replied, “I just always try to have fun”. I’ve always tried to keep that in mind. I’ve won our monthly Cowtown Throwdown I think 4 or 5 times in the last year. I competed in the US Latte Art Exhibition earlier this year where I took fourth place. A few months later I attended Coffee Fest in Chicago and competed in the World Latte Art Championship. I lost in the final 8 to Junichi Yamaguchi who ended up second place.
What is the next barista competition for you?
I’m currently preparing to compete in the Big Central Barista Competition as well as the Big Central Brewers Competition. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to represent The Roasterie from local to world stages. It pushes me to be a better barista and I hope it inspires our baristas and challenges them as well.
What do you enjoy most about working with coffee?
Farmers, roasters, baristas and customers are all different, but we share this same passion that draws people all over the world together. That’s really cool.
Which Roasterie coffee is your favorite right now?
This week my choice is Sulawesi Toraja of Indonesia. Grown in the region of Tana Toraja, this unique coffee is unlike its other more famous Indonesian counterparts in that it is crisp and refreshing. Its mild classic earthy tones break into mellow herbal notes that invoke the serenity of a lush meadow. A full body rounds this coffee into a smooth finish accented by just a hint of freshly cracked black pepper. I recommend trying it as an espresso. It’s round on the tongue, starts spicy and finishes sweet.
Where would you take a coffee adventure?
I think my origin trip pick right now would be either Ethiopia or Guatemala. Ethiopia is special not only for its phenomenal coffee, but also because my brother is adopting from Ethiopia! Guatemala because I’ve spoken to our master roaster Norm about it and he said it was the most beautiful of all the South American countries.
Here at The Roasterie you can find Simeon in a variety of roles–from giving tours to training new baristas behind to teaching Coffee Workshops on the weekends.
Catch a tour with Professor Bean this weekend. RSVP here!