Three LA Journos in Barista Championship Mix

It’s not quite the Oscars, but this weekend, on the heels of last Sunday’s Kodak Theater “katastrophe,” the Southwest Regional Barista Competition will be taking place at Siren Studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

FishbowlLA got the lowdown from Cassie Piper, social media coordinator for event host the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. About 40 judges are being certified today in Long Beach ahead of the event and include three local reporters: Betty Hallock, a food editor at the LA Times; Elina Shatkin, restaurant critic for LA Weekly; and Ben Mandelker, an LA food and entertainment blogger for B-Side Blog.

Although they and the other judges are not obligated to participate in all three days of the Friday-Sunday event, this trio will nonetheless have an important say in who gets to continue getting jiggy with the java. “”The top six finalists will move on to compete in the United States Barista Championship,” explains Piper. “And that winner will represent the United States at the World Barista Championship in Bogota, Colombia June 2nd-5th, 2011.”

Take a gander at this weekend’s 30 competitors, a group that includes Nicholas Cho of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters (pictured). Something tells us this is going to be way more fun than the Hathaway-Franco snoozefest.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.