Barista champ stands her ground on brews

Shunning law school for lattes, 28-year-old California resident Heather Perry said her profession can make for interesting conversation.

When describing what she does, Perry said she usually goes with the standard “I’m in the coffee industry,” but she also calls herself a coffee bartender.

Barista?

Not so much.

“People understand that about 50/50,” Perry said Saturday as she waited for espresso fans to file in at Main Street Bagels, 559 Main St., for a coffee cupping, or tasting session.

The Anaheim native will return to Main Street Bagels’ downtown location again Monday from 10 a.m. to noon for another demonstration, $4 per customer. She also is scheduled to serve customers this morning at the store.

A two-time national barista champion, including one runner-up finish in a worldwide competition, Perry has some 15 years of experience with coffee.

Working for the family business, Klatch Roasting, Perry by age 15 was behind the espresso machine, experimenting with various drinks.

She gave up a shot at law school to enter the world of competitive espresso making.

“California has a fierce coffee culture,” said Perry, adding regional competitions can include up to 50 competitors.

Asked for pointers on how to improve the basic cup of coffee or espresso, Perry said don’t be wimpy with grounds: two tablespoons per six ounces of water, at least.

And get the proper gear, which shouldn’t run you more than $50, she said.

“You have to have a grinder, or you’re just enjoying flat coffee,” Perry said.


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