Yesterday was good. Admitedly I was always going to say that considering four of the five entrants from our cafe that entered, made it through to the finals. But as wella s this, the standard yesterday was considered by all judges to be an improvement on Tuesday. A lot of the competitors used the correct cups and for the most part, the shots looked and tasted a lot more WBC like. Its funny how quickly you can tell which competitors are familiar with the score sheets and who aren’t. Occasionally people aere adopting practices so weird we weren’t sure how to score them. One example was competitors dosing and packing a shot, then leaving it resting on the counter whilst preparing the next pf. I was doing tech on that incident and was suprised to find no where on the sheet that I could mark them down for it. We considered docking them marks for immeadiet insert and brewing but knew that only referred to the time locked into the group before brewing. Ultimately we figured it would be picked up in sensory and grumplily moved on.
The top score was 470, by our very own Rachael Coss. (Competitors only had to make 4 cappuccino and 4 espresso, hence the lower score.) Her precision got her tech scores of nearly all fours and her speed allowed her ample time to snatch points for clean bar at end. I was worried leading up the comp that Rachael’s nerves would get to her but on the day she just got on with it and as the results show, did great.
Next up was Victoria Fitz Henry from Butler’s Chocolate Cafe, who instead of bottling up her nerves, openly made fun of them as she prepared her drinks. Her cappuccinos stood out thanks to the strong latte art throughout despite the lack of familiarity with the Iberital machine.
Niamh Harrington of Cafe Krem in Northern Ireland, using a custom blend roasted by Copenhagen based Kontra Coffee, placed a close third. I think Niamh, as well as being the first to play music, was probably the most relaxed competitor, asking the judges how they were,and taking the most time to introduce herself and her coffee. Her set up area was also the most impressive, with long wooden serving trays, and a nice big ceramic white pouring jug.
Other competitors from the cafe to get through were Bela Zudor, Andrius Valiauga and Emily Gough. Each of these were let down in one area of their performance but excelled in another. I love seeing how bar baristas react when thrown into competition. I love how latte art really only amounts to around 24 points, leaving aside consistency and persistency of foam. The competition really is down to your coffee and how good you are at pulling good shots consistently.
On February 5th we’re having an inhouse competition in Grafton Street. We’re arranging barista magazine subscriptions, and custom reg barber tampers as prizes, as well as a €400 travel voucher. They won’t have to make signature drinks, but instead will have topresent 4 of any other coffe drink on the menu be it a mocha or even a macchiato. So if any of you are around Dublin early February, please drop in.
So well done to all competitors, it should be a fairly tight finals on February 28th.
pics are on flickr