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Chris Baca

I sprouted straight from the streets of Modesto California surrounded by  faux cowboys, yuppie white kids, and the occasional gangster.  I spent all of my youth in the Mo’ where I met my first true love: skateboarding.  All of my days were spent on seven plys of maple and four urethane wheels.  If I wasn’t skateboarding I was going to or coming from a session.  I dabbled in videography at first just for the sake of making skate videos but ended up getting psyched on all kinds of camera work.  I got my first real camera in 1998 to the tune of about $3,500; the legendary sony vx-1000.  Several local skate productions commenced over the next few years.  I skated, worked at the skateshop, filmed, slept, and ate.

In 2001 I had back surgery for a severely herniated L5-S1.  They had to cut part of one of my disks off and I was out of all physical activity for a whole year.  I quit the skateshop as I couldn’t work or really do anything at all.  Post- recovery I swooped a job at a small local coffeeshop a few blocks from my house.  I’d always drank shit-tons of coffee but knew nothing about making it.  Working at the coffeeshop was pretty rad.  We were nothing special; the coffee was sub par and our technique even worse but I had fun with it always thinking that there could be something more…

In 2005 a crazy stylish eccentric fellow named Tony came into the store talkin’ all this shit about ristretto, latte art, and third wave…I didn’t know who he was or what the fuck he was talking about and I wasn’t sure if I liked him or not.  He was planning on opening a shop in town and invited me on a trip to the bay to go and check out prospective roasters for his soon to be open (so we thought) store.  I was scared to sit in the car with this guy but I accepted.  This seemingly little trip changed my life.  We visited the newly opened Ritual Coffee Roasters and my head basically exploded, I’d never seen or tasted anything like it.  From there we visited the Blue Bottle Linden St. kiosk, Cafe Organica (R.I.P.),  and on the way back home swung into Barefoot Coffee Roasters in Santa Clara. Life as I knew it was over.  Coffee was the new skateboarding.  I competed in my first Barista competition in 2006.  I went alone.  I knew no one. I wasn’t very good at all.  It was scary as shit but fun as hell and I met a lot of people who would turn out to be great friends.   Shortly there after I began working at Ritual.  I kept working, learning, listening, and watching trying to understand my new craft.  In a short few years it amazed me that I was the one the one teaching…but still learning.

I currently live in Santa Cruz and work for Verve Coffee Roasters and there’s no place else I’d rather be.  I do production and wholesale training, work bar, and talk coffee with the coolest cats on the planet.  I’m a two time
USBC finalist (ending up fourth in 2008 and sliding into the number two slot in 2010), Millrock champion, and am the 2008 WRBC champion.  Although I love participating in these events my favorite thing to do is work busy production bar with good friends while bumpin’ some hip hop good and loud.

If I’m not making coffee you can find me biking, skateboarding,  failing at surfing, picking up heavy things, filming, playing guitar, or just kickin’ it on the deck talkin’ shit with Truby and Ian.  Lets Party.


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