So, local free weekly lifestyle and entertainment journo MKE is hosting a Hottest Barista Contest. They say their looking for "caffeine-slingers -- men and women -- who know their way around an espresso machine, someone who has a sense of style every time they pour a cup. Looks are a factor, but don't forget a great smile and wicked foam technique."
I suppose we could take this contest at face value and come to the conclusion that it's just for fun and who cares if they stipulate that voters should take physical attractiveness into account, but here's the thing: They stipulate that voters should take physical attractiveness into account.
Now, don't get me wrong--I'm just as hip to Pop culture as anyone and view all its inherent good, bad and ugliness with a sense that, in the greater world of human culture, there needs to exist frivolity and general purpose-free elements within it. But does the question of whether or not you're attracted to your Barista have anything to do with how masterly he/she makes and creates your favorite coffee drink?
My answer to that is no, it certainly doesn't matter whether I've got a crush on my morning java jockey. What matters is that we can have a friendly albeit brief exchange in which I receive a great tasting latte that will start my day on a good note. What do I care if Johnny is a looker? If Johnny can make the drink I've been looking forward to since a I woke up and at the same time do it in a manner that tells me he's interested in his job and likes what he does, then that's all I need.
As a former Barista, I find this contest a tad demeaning. Being a good Barista takes skill, talent and more than a little hard work. To add a criteria of good looks into a contest does not give the position its due credit, nor does it give the men and women who perform their job well the respect they deserve.
But I'm interested in knowing what others think about this, so please feel free to leave comments. And if you do choose to participate as a voter in this contest, I encourage you to place more value on actual Barista skill than on your libido's reaction to a pretty face.
Announcing the second Milwaukee Specialty Coffee contest! The 3 best 100-word articles submitted will win one pound of micro-roasted coffee. Articles should pertain to coffee or any of the other topics discussed on this website. Here's the real prize: the winning article will appear here (you can choose whether you want your name published or to remain anonymous). If you want photographs to accompany your submission if published, you can attach them. Submit them by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them as a comment, if you like. Deadline is 11:59 p.m. on January 15th.
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