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.
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“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.
This year’s 64th annual Pismo Beach Clam Festival has been remastered, offering new events and a new theme: Surfin’ Safari.
Held Oct. 15 through 17 in downtown Pismo Beach, it features new events, including a champagne and caviar tasting, a kissing contest and a spelling bee, plus traditional events such as a surf contest and clam chowder cook-off.
To participate as a vendor or sponsor or to learn more about the events, go to www.pismobeachclamfestival.com or contact the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce at 773-4382.
And speaking of seafood
More than 300 pounds of albacore will be served at the Avila Beach Community Center during a fundraiser Oct. 9.
Board members from the Avila Beach Community Foundation and the Avila Beach Civic Association will host the town’s second Albacore Feed at the community center, located at 191 San Miguel St.Local fishermen are tasked with catching the fish, continuing a tradition that dates to the 1940s, organizers said.
Funds will be used to support youth activities at the community center and help the foundation support community projects.
Tickets should be purchased by Oct. 1 and cost $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and younger. Take-out orders are also available. For more information, call 627-1997.
Cynthia Lambert and Gayle Cuddy write the South County Beat column on alternating Wednesdays.