A truly "motley" crew with Dylan Michalek, Round 4 winner doing "Rock n' roll" hands in the middle. Round 4, Top 8 from left to right: Adriana Uriostegui of Cafe Moto, Vanessa Lovel of Cafe Virtuoso, Josh Bonner (independent), Dylan Michalek (independent), James Davalos Kean Coffee, Chris O'Brien Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, and Matt Fischler, Qualcomm Engineer by day and recent Founder of the SD Home Baristas community on Facebook. Not present: Lindsey Salinas of Lofty Coffee Co.

A truly "motley" crew with Dylan Michalek, Round 4 winner doing "Rock n' roll" hands in the middle. Round 4, Top 8 from left to right: Adriana Uriostegui of Cafe Moto, Vanessa Lovel of Cafe Virtuoso, Josh Bonner (independent), Dylan Michalek (independent), James Davalos Kean Coffee, Chris O'Brien Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, and Matt Fischler, Qualcomm Engineer by day and recent Founder of the SD Home Baristas community on Facebook. Not present: Lindsey Salinas of Lofty Coffee Co.

Yes, we realize that one of the Top 8 of the Season is missing. Sadly, she didn't get the memo about the Champion's Bracket after the close of Season 1, Round 4. We had to improvise and take one of Michalek's alternate personalities as a plus 1. Just joking Slayer Roolz, or is it Dylan?

Is it just us, or is this pic slightly reminiscent of primary school photos? Look closely. It's like looking into an old year book.

Assignment for anyone interested. Grab some primary school kids that look similar to our crowd, style them the same, have them mimmick body position and facial expression, snap that photo and share it alongside this one. Okay, we admit, in theory a fun idea. Grabbing primary school kids, however, is kidnapping. Literally, so don't do it. Ever.

Okay, so enough "kidding" around (see what we did there), Dylan Michalek took first for Season 1, Round 4. Michalek beat out the Season points giant, Joshua Bonner, and the other top season contenders before moving into the Champion's Bracket as one of the Top 8 for the Season. As noted after the finish of Round 2, Michalek was a wild card competing and landing in or near the Top 4 whenever he came out to throw-down. He currently works outside the cafe scene, and has been researching operating a coffee cart in San Diego. But enough of what we have to say, let's hear what Michaleck had to say after his win last Thursday night.

SDCN: Where'd you grow up?

Michalek: I grew up and have spent about 65% of my life in San Diego, although I have lived a lot of other places in my youth and young adulthood.

SDCN: What is the strangest request you've received as a Barista?

Michalek: I was asked to steam soy milk and put it immediately on ice... Within a few hours, a different 'customer' asked me to do an interview for Fox Morning News about possibly changing the name of the Coronado Bridge. Don't know what was weirder...

SDCN: Favorite non-coffee adult beverage?

Michalek: Big fan of Moscow Mules, but the cats at 7Grand in North Park make a mean Old Fashioned.

SDCN: Any defining coffee moments or mentor shout outs?

Michalek: I'll never forget pulling my first beatiful espresso shots and slapping a heart on 'em at Heaven Sent Desserts 7 years ago, or competing for the first time at Jim Henson's Studio in Hollywood. That was actually with my good friend Matthew Barahura (SDCN), so I have to give a big shout out to him for constantly reminding me that my passion for coffee is with purpose and the range of appreciation is growing.

SDCN: What's your first coffee memory?

Michalek: When I was very young (maybe 7), I remember my Mom telling us someday we were going to start a coffee shop/ book store. After that, I thought making coffee was the coolest most admirable thing to do as a profession.

SDCN: Stuck on a desert island, instead of sunscreen, water and food, you bring which 3 albums?

Michalek: 1. Smashing Pumpkins - Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness; 2. The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground and Nico; 3. T Rex - The Slider.

SDCN: Why compete?

Michalek: I compete because there are many others out there like me that want to learn and understand coffee more. When I worked the cafes, I was on stage making drinks for people always hoping I made exactly what they wanted, but when I compete, I make exactly what I want. I get an adrenaline rush being put in the spotlight and judged on the quality and consistency of my drink-making ability. Since I don't currenlty work in a cafe, I get to go up and be in front of a machine (my natural environment). I don't get scared when I compete anymore because the machine, for me, is a luxury I don't always have. And one I don't want to be far from too long. To anyone else, I would say to compete because it's a fun learning experience and we all have it in us.

You can follow Dylan Michalek on Instagram at @Dylbot. Or just come on out for Season 2 of the year to watch him and others compete for the Season Championship. Stay tuned for those dates on our events page. Or sign-up to receive updates via email by becoming a member.

 

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