Today I entered and won Ireland’s first National Barista Competition. I’m extremely happy and feel very lucky to have won considering how tight the competition was. I made it into the final round by way of being only slightly faster than my good friend Jackie Malone, along with two old co-workers;from Bewleys Cafe and Kate O’Shaughnessy, a trainer for Bewleys.
The final round was really nerve racking as Kate and Liv had both scored higher than me in their first rounds. In the first round, I’d made the mistake of going over some of my first decisions which resulted in changing cups at the last second which were correct the first time. I made a point of not making the same mistake in the final but was terrified I went through it too quickly without taking my time. I think I might have done better with my accuracy if I hadn’t rushed the last 2 cups, one set of which I didn’t even taste all three cups, the first two being so foul I was sure the third must, must be better and elected it as the odd one out. This was a cocky move which turned out to be wrong, however as each of the finalists scored 6 out of 8, I eventually won by being that little bit quicker- something not essentially paramount for a cupper but nevertheless a rule in the competition.
Each of the finalists scored 6 out of 8. I I was very fortunate to snatch first and feel strongly that many of the competitors on the day were equally capable and could easily have taken first. Triangular cupping was a common event in the training room of Intelligentsia LA and my scores were never as consistent as I’d have liked. Its always been something I’d like to improve and now, with me representing my country for the first time in coffee on a world stage, I guess I’d better start working on it.