Food and Drink

How the World Champion Barista Drinks His Coffee

Pete Licata says it’s the little changes that help you get the most out of your coffee.

Parisi Artisan Coffee’s Pete Licata has bona fide coffee expert credentials. He won the 2013 US Barista Championship in Boston in April. Next, Licata competed in two rounds of semi-finals in May 2013 and earned the title of World Champion Barista in Melbourne, Australia, outscoring competitors from 52 other countries. The standard competition consists of a 15-minute performance that features the preparation of four espressos, four cappuccinos and four original, signature drinks.

So it’s safe to say he knows coffee––a drink not regularly associated with good health when served with cream, flavorings and sweeteners. As a world champion barista, Licata offers several suggestions on how to better enjoy your daily dose of caffeine without sacrificing flavor or spending a fortune.

Story by Pete Dulin. Photos provided by Pete Licata.

*Reduced acidity – Making cold brew coffee overnight saves time and it is easier on the digestive system. Licata says, “It is often an option for those who experience issues with the acidic content of coffee as cold brew often reduces this impact.”

*Sweet treat – Make a homemade version of affogato, an Italian espresso-based beverage. In Licata’s version, top 2 small scoops of vanilla bean ice cream in a glass with 6 oz. of root beer and 2 oz. of cold brew concentrate. He says, “I like Fitz’s and Dad’s Root Beer. At Parisi, we use our own root beer.”

*Fewer calories – “The best way to save calories without sacrificing flavor is to drink black coffee and/or select the smaller drink sizes and enjoy them slowly,” says Licata.

*Lighter espresso-based beverages – Select a skim milk option to reduce some caloric content, or choose other milk options like soy or almond milk. While lower in calories, these alternatives also have lower protein and calcium content, Licata notes. Sugar-free flavoring is an option, but this definitely affects flavor.

*Better beans – For pure coffee lovers, find great tasting, fresh coffee that requires no additives. Licata says, “With correct brewing technique and a little experimenting with origins, you can train your palate to detect sweet, floral, spicy, citrus, caramel, chocolate and many other flavor traits in your regular brew.”

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