You might be wondering why I haven’t posted about the UK comp,
especially considering that two posts ago I said I would. The reasons for my dropping the ball on this is a) Jim and Steve have already said most of what can be said, and b) I’m busy with college work. I did however post up pics on flickr once I got home. Before I talk more, I just wanna put this pic in of my morning coffee. Brought over to me very kindly by Robert Csar, I’ve been drinking this every day recently and although faded a little (age and travel), it still has this complexity that makes me want to travel to Denver and taste it fresh.
You all know by now that Jim won and that the competition standard was way higher than ever before across the board. So I’ll avoid reiterating what you already know. Something that was interesting though was helping out with practice and preparation the day before the comp with Jim, Jen and Anette. It was really interesting to see how they went out about preparing in comparison to what I’ve known before. My eyes were opened to many details I hadn’t considered before but similarly I felt there were areas I was sensitive to they hadn’t considered. As Jim put it, a fresh perspective, and its something I think all competition baristas should try expose themselves to if possible. Perhaps not the day before as in Jim’s case, but a week or two definitely. I think every judge has little things they look for or perhaps appreciate more than others; things like eye contact, how they serve their drinks, layout of equipment, delivery, or I know for me, I can’t stand people putting their fingers anywhere near the rims of cups or jugs.
I think Jim’s performance on the day was strong but definitely not his best. His drinks tasted great, especially his sig drink, and I suspect it was this superiority in the cup that won it for him on the day. On a day when every competitor made big effort on presentation however, it was interesting that Jim didn’t stand out more, and yet still won comfortably. To avoid any misunderstanding, he was far from poor, and had many tricks that separated him from the others; -though most of these only noticeable to those familiar with the comp, and maybe not to the onlookers.
I’ve said this before, these new score sheets really do expose the skill levels of the barista and the quality of their coffee way more than before. The taste is now paramount, which is just such an good development. I’m very proud of Jim for retaining his title and feel confident he is definitely one to beat in Tokyo. (not with the back of a pf now, I of course mean in a competition sense)
I had a great weekend in London though. Spent a lot of time hanging out with Klaus Thomsen and Deaton Pigot. They first met at Ramacafe in Nicaragua last year and London was a chance for them, and myself to say bye to Deaton before he set off on his Great Coffee Journey through the cafes of North America and the farms of Guatemala and Mexico before heading home to Oz. Those who want to keep up with his travels by the way should check out his new blog, although he’s yet to post any info yet. He’s currently in New York, so if any NY heads wanna meet up with him, e mail me for his contact details.
Got on well with Klaus, (I think…did we?) and am looking forward to doing a cafe tour of Copenhagen with him in April. It was really interesting to watch some of the competition with him and hear what he liked and disliked about people’s performances. We talked about things like technique, clean up at end, and scripting,..I’d elaborate put this post is too long already.
I have lots more I could talk about, but it’ll have to wait. In the meantime, you can watch this little video of Sammy Piccolo pouring at a consumer coffee event held last year in Vancouver.
will post more soon