WBC

First off can I apologise for the extra 1000 people who’ve checked my blog in the last few days hoping to see some interesting content. I have never been a prolific blogger and I don’t want any of you thinking this whole WBC thing will change that!

I think it would never have sunk in if it wasn’t for the rapid number of people adding me on friends on facebook. This is particularly worrying as they say the more facebook friends you have the less real ones you have. I suspect the reality will be the more facebook friends you have, the less cool you simply are.

That said, I do want to thank the large number of people who contributed to my unexpected success. 

Jenny, you have been by my side for the last 7 years, patiently letting me drag you around to cafe after cafe when we should be seeing the sights each time we travel. You are my best friend and the reason I smile at irregular intervals on buses, tubes and walking down the street. You helped me so much more than just polishing, but in saying that, I’m still kinda pissed you missed that water glass in the semis. I love you, and have lived a happier life because of you. Still, that water glass was filthy….

James & Anette, your guidance and skill have been crucial in my learning over the last few years. Thank you for showing me how to make great coffee and roasting great coffee for me to use. I was so honoured to be part of Team UK last year, and your help this year has been invaluable, in particular the whole driving all my gear and coffee from London to Copenhagen.  

Thank you for putting up with my goofiness, constant questions and poor oratory skills, you truly are good friends. I am so excited about what the three of us can achieve over the next few years at Square Mile Coffee.

Tim Styles, I would never have been successful in the Irish Competition, and gone on to Copenhagen if it hadn’t been for you. You’re relentless help and feedback was just so valuable, especially in the context of your kitchen and bar work. We’ll always have Muslin, but then you did break my xbox.

Kyle Glanville, in the short time I’ve known you, and even shorter that I’ve worked with you, I have realised just how great the job of a barista can be once we understand it as something beyond just pulling shots. You’re younger than me, and I hate you for it, because you represent so much of what a barista needs to become. You will be a great World Barista Champion.

Deaton Pigot. You are one of my closest friends and I love you……… I love to think of how we dreamed of working with the World’s best coffees and now we are. You are one of the hardest workers I know for your age, and your approach to coffee encompasses the kind of willingness to learn that we could all learn from. The onus is on you to surprise me in London now. 

John Ermacoff & Chris Baca. The Anfim Super Caimano played a huge role in my performance, and I’m not sure if I would have employed the same technique in Copenhagen had I not seen it tried and proven elsewhere first. Baca, your performance at the WBC was great, and I will insist you make that sig drink for me some day. So I just wanted to say thank you for both having the innovation that I then sorta stole. I look forward to meeting you soon John, Baca,… I’m good for a while. 

Brad Ford, Alistair Durie, Aaron de Lazzer, Robert Goble & Les Kuan; You are the people that cemented my love for coffee when I came out to Vancouver. You showed me what was possible, what was wrong, and the method to fixing it. You showed me great nights, a lot of laughs and very tasty coffee. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to sum up just how much I learned that summer, but know that I’ll never forget it and will always call you friends. Oh and Les, I still owe you some money.

Avonmore; I wasn’t overly vocal about this as I’m not sure its proper for a performance, but Avonmore, an Irish Dairy used by Dublin’s best cafes, were a huge help with preparing for the WBC. They sent milk over weekly for me to practice with in London and even practiced sending milk to Copenhagen. I was delighted to use the milk on stage too, both for its quality and though I’m not overly patriotic, because it was Irish. I’ve always enjoyed there milk growing up, and really do need to post about the farm trip I did with James that they hosted. 

Bea Vo: I would have made a fool of myself up there, or at least made more of a fool of myself, had you not been so very kind and helpful. I owe so much of my success to your ideas and generosity and will feel forever indebted to you. Thank you so much for the late nights and awkward hours where you gave me your precious time, and for making awesome red velvets.

Karl Purdy: your feedback and advice has been invaluable over the last few years. I have really enjoyed working with you recently and look forward to maintaining that relationship in the future. I hope I can adopt a fraction of your savvy approach to coffee in my own career, and look forward to our lunch in Mint whenever we manage to find the time.

Cindy Chang and Michelle Campbell; you are both such endearing people, who made life so comfortable for all the competitors and made sure we were always being looked after. Thank you so much for your tireless work that made Copenhagen such an enjoyable setting to share our craft. 

Mam & Dad; thank you so much for helping me out on so many occasions and making sure I always had everything I needed like pets, car insurance and laptops. You made me who I am today. If it wasn’t for the two of you, I would never have been successful in the competition, and probably wouldn’t have achieved much else in life either.

Chris & Ail, thank you for having such great taste in music and letting me appear to be the one who discovered them all. You truly are siblings, and have wonderful friends who have hair. Thank you for being around in my youth and for never calling me overweight. You never made me feel silly about being into coffee, even though being into coffee is ridiculous. Thank you both so very much.

Graham: Thank you for everything. Without you I would have never gotten through the last year. Your level of support and alluring scent have meant more to me than you’ll ever know. You are in the foo fighters.

Baristas I’ve met; I want to say I’ve been inspired by you all, but really I just stole all your techniques and put them together. That said, I think so many of you are just lovely and if theres only one thing I’d love to get out of this year, beyond a gs3 and compak in my apartment, is the chance to meet new people and connect with old ones. To clarify, by old ones I mean old friends, not the elderly. I’m happy to stay well clear of the elderly for a while. (Deaton I mean you)

The weirdest thing about the competition for me was the sense that I hadn’t changed once they called out my name. I didn’t suddenly feel I pulled incredible shots every time, or more importantly that I was the Worlds Best Barista. I wanted to tell everyone just how easily one of the other 51 competitors could be holding this trophy and how many great ambassadors for our craft were in the room. I 

I understand the responsibility of my new role, and will do my best to do well by you all. I really enjoyed Copenhagen, the show, the people and even being on stage- though more so in the finals. The experience of the few days really deserves a post of its own, I’ll try give details on how the performance took shape, and on the challenges and slip ups experienced in Copenhagen.

I thought it may be fun to share some of my goals for the next year; now that my ego has swelled to such mammoth proportions, I feel nothings impossible.

So this year, I want to;

 

  • get to origin for the first time
  • tame a tiger
  • invent a sauce
  • learn to surf
  • visit Melbourne
  • treat Jenny to dinner a lot more often
  • build a new home for this blog
  • touch my toes standing up
  • get over my hate of sweetcorn
  • get an i phone
  • open a coffee bar 
I’ve no doubt forgotten countless people who were influential, but when I realise, I will edit the post. I may be moving this blog soon, and probably to this site.  
Thanks again for all the kind words, when it sinks in and I start to behave like a World Champion.
finalists

 

 

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Posted in WBC

28 thoughts on “WBC

  1. If you come to Melbourne, then you must come to Sydney too. Well done Stephen, and congratulations. See you soon! (hopefully at this end of the world!) Emily x

  2. Learn to surf?
    Cornwall’s got surf, lots of it….and we can get you a table for two at Rick Steins Seafood restaurant, an impressive, romantic (expensive) experience (coffee’s shite though). Besides it’d be an honour to have you pop in and have a coffee with Sez and I at Relish.

    You WORLD CHAMPION you…Congratulations!

  3. Congrats Stephen. It was great meeting you & Jen! Just to add to your ego; aren’t you the first barista in the world to do the hattrick (or atleast the hattrick + wbc-title)?

    Hope to see you guys again soon,

  4. again mate… congratulations. we wanted to stalk you at Copenhagen airport, like we did at the hotel, the train station, the train, the lift – but we figured you needed some alone time… see you in Oslo

  5. Congratulations! Your passion for what you do and your incredible performance have been a huge inspiraton. Good luck in the coming year.

  6. “Oh god… my muffins fell… my muffins fell…”

    I’m sure it will be weeks before your life returns to some sort of normalcy…until then it will just be an endless stream of photo ops with your WBC tiara and sash.

    Great job Stephen.. we’re all extremely proud of you. Hard to believe it’s been 2 years since you invaded Vancouver full of angst and doubt.

    Little did you know that at that time we could all see one of the best barista trainers on the planet, a passionate coffee lover ( who hated espresso), and a future world champion.

    All this from a guy who couldn’t pour cappuccinos or talk…

    See you in Canada soon..

  7. Mate!!!

    Thank you so, so much for the kind words and with out getting publicly soppy I’ll just say, right back at ya!

    The last few years have been so fulfilling and we/ you have come such a long way since, Dublin.

    Congrats mate, you do alright for a young fella and we’ll see you soon!

  8. Learning to surf is one of my current goals too! (although apparently I have to learn to swim first)

    Good work on your 15 minutes, we’re super stoked for you! And, hope to meet you soon!

    m’lissa and chris

  9. What can I say. You embody what a champ should be-kind, humble, and of course funny. Incidentally I hear they’ve just opened a tiger taming/surf school in a secret location. Classes start soon. Wetsuit and hypnotic stare required.

    Doug Z.

  10. there is a tiny picture of you in todays irish times, ireland (bewleys) didnt know what they missed out on when they let you go,

    that performance was just absolutely fantastic, congratulations!

    let us know when in dublin if you can spare some time, hope everything is well with you,

    liv

  11. Congratulations Sir!

    Guess that’s the last we’ll be seeing of you round our silly shows! I feel personally responsible for driving you towards an iphone tho, get the new one if you must, tis a lot better. Hope the coffee deli is coming along strong.

    Will

    PS Sweetcorn is crap, you’re better off without it

  12. Funny thing, I actually found your blog through a NYTimes article! Congrats, yada yada yada, and where’s my whisk?? 🙂

  13. Really fun to watch! I’m saving some whiskey for your return to SF. You’ll be a great representative of baristas abroad. Well played…

    Drew

  14. You seem to be a nice guy with a low profile and perhaps this contributed for your success in the WBC. The big effort that you can do is remain as you are and change by no means.
    Congratulations for your success in Denmark and I wish you good strength for the continuity of your course.

  15. incredible, really incredible (said in a very australian accent)

    I expect a visit when you come over.

    ‘The actual bathroom is to the left’

  16. That Irish guy is sooooooo crappy;)
    Hey Stephen, was nice to be your neighbour at the practice-room, did me stressing calm you down? (don’t think so) You did a great job, congrats once again and hope meeting you once again, in your coffeeshop for example.. Weird thing was to me we used the same guatemala!

  17. Totally honored for the mention here Stephen. As someone who works on all kinds of mechanical things, it’s nice to see something like this do so well with experts like you.

  18. Flying Man,
    Cograts. I’m happy you took it.

    Is it typical you to post a photo on which everybody is standing in the middle and you just on the side, not even complety on it? Modest.

    I’ll come to Square Mile monday 21st. I’ll hope you’re going to be there. I’ll mail Anette.
    Ciao,
    Rob, Antwerp Barista.

  19. You, Kyle & DAVE, had the rockinest tunes, so one of you had to win. I guess the biggest whisk & biggest spoon made the difference, so size does matter! (What’s with the tiny muffins then?)
    We all look forward to seeing you in Melbourne (I know someone who assists in the Tiger enclosure at the zoo – seriously!)

    Cheers,
    Simon

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