Today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch included a detailed article on the image, technique, social role, and concerns of the modern barista: Barista artists strive for the perfect cup of coffee – STLtoday – Life & Style – Everyday.

The article takes the local angle on the recent U.S. Barista Championship, where Alex McCracken, head barista at St. Louis-based Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Co., placed among the top 25 last month. Andrew Timko, director of coffee at Kaldi’s, explains the barista competition format and how the state of the barista art — and customer expectations for it — have been elevated in recent years.