To celebrate this wonderful Specialty Coffee Month, we're having a barista competition! For those not up on their coffeehouse jargon, a barista is like a coffeehouse bartender. Usually I like to see the term used only in reference to those with sufficient skill at the position, not in reference to a "button-pusher-PBTC" (person behind the counter). In Italy, the profession is revered one, and often a lifetime career. Unfortunately, in the US this is not the case (probably because espresso is younger in US culture). The profession does require much skill and training. It is a craft and a science, even artistic in the highly skilled. All preparations for a cappuccino may be perfect: A fresh-roasted batch of specialty grade regional coffees expertly evaluated, roasted to their peak, and blended for a well-balanced espresso, along with the freshest milk. . However, it is the barista who bears the great responsibility of taking these ingredients and creating either heaven or hell.