Regulars who spot barista Jessica Ontiveros at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Pismo Beach might know to ask for a special drink that’s not featured on the menu.
Ontiveros recently beat out baristas worldwide to take first place at the 2010 The Coffee Bean World Barista Competition, which was held in early August in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
To do so, she created a specialty drink and won a district, regional and national competition before advancing to the finals, where she competed against the winners from the Middle East and Asia.
The second-place finisher hailed from Qatar.
“I met so many people from Coffee Bean (stores) all over the world, and it was amazing,” said Ontiveros, a 22-year-old Grover Beach resident who studies math at Cal Poly. She’s worked as a barista only since the end of March.
During the competition in Vietnam, the baristas had 15 minutes to pull four shots of espresso and make four cappuccinos and four of their signature drinks for the judges, who judged their technique, the texture of the foam and consistency of the espresso, among other things.
Ontiveros created what she calls a “cosmoccino” made with espresso and milk steamed with raspberry- flavored “sanding” sugar.
The drink’s pink hue led Ontiveros into developing a “Sex in the City” theme for her drink. She served it to the judges in martini glasses rimmed with lemon.
“I never thought of it as an art, but after this whole competition process, it really is,” she said. “There are so many things that factor into pulling the perfect shot, which factors into a better drink.”
Her next goal: to compete in public competitions against baristas from other companies.