WilsonHines Senior Member Joined: 4 Jul 2007 Posts: 68 Location: Mount Olive, NC Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Faema 2 Group Grinder: Mazzer Mini, KitchenAid... Vac Pot: Bodum Santos Electric Drip: Saeco Venus Roaster: Intelli, Crema Roaster...
Posted Fri Aug 3, 2007, 6:27am Subject: WBC logistics question
This may have already been covered, if so a link would be nice.
I have a fairly analytical mind. I just can't look at something and be thankful that it is the way it is and walk away. I have to wonder how it became that way.
I would love to know the logistical specifics on what the baristas that compete in Japan, or anywhere long distance for that matter. What do they carry with them? How many days do they get their before the event. Do they work with local roasters, maybe sending them their green beans ahead of time and then showing up to roast the beans themselves on the borrowed equipment. I read that one competitor brought their own milk...that is remarkable. Milk spoils quick! Beans, I don't know about Green, but beans loose it in a matter of days. Then, how many lbs of beans do they carry with them or pre-ship? With practice and all it would seem it should take a whole bunch.
There's no standard for this sort of thing, from what I know.
I can say that they do NOT work with a roaster other than the roaster they worked with to develop their blend.
While some home roasts may lose everything within a week, many commercial roasts can last nearly two before giving up.
Even so, If the coffee is roasted, and is used on the 4 or 5th day (pretty close to ideal for a lot of blends), it shouldn't be much of a stretch to imagine roasting it the day before, or the day of, leaving for the competition. Even when they roast their own, I'm inclined to believe that they roast it on equipment they're familiar with back home.
The milk thing was arranged with customs months before the competition. It's not hard to imagine keeping it cold. There are a few ways I can think of to accomplish that.
Competitors carry everything. Cups, saucers, spoons, ingredients, coffee, pitchers, shot glasses, tablecloth, placemats, centerpiece, napkins, water glasses, etc..etc..etc.. I was amazed at the size of my mound of stuff before heading to the SCRBC. I'd think the WBC would possibly be even more. Lord knows Heather had a collection of things nearly twice the size of my own when she came to practice at the SCRBC.
Amount of coffee to carry is tricky. What if some gets lost? What if you spill a whole hopper?(Nick) It's good to take extra beyond just what would be used for both practice and competition, and roasted at different times/days, and marking these days/times so coffee with as close to ideal age can be used. I had a bunch of one pound bags to keep them fresh rather than a few 5lb. bags.
I could imagine actually having so much crap to carry and worrying so much about customs that I would probably fill my carry on with the most sensitive items, like beans or a special ingredient. Also, just from a novice's point of view, scoping out some of the more benign items like cups and wares and buying them on the ground once your there if you could find what your looking for. I imagine in a place like Tokyo you could get anything you wanted, it would just be a matter of finding it.
geek Senior Member Joined: 14 Jun 2004 Posts: 91 Location: Vancouver, Canada Expertise: Pro Roaster
Espresso: Kees v.d. Westen Spirit Grinder: Robur Es Vac Pot: Hario Siphon Drip: Fetco Roaster: 60kg Renegade, 5kg Renegade,...
Posted Sat Aug 4, 2007, 4:40am Subject: Re: WBC logistics question
Colter had 2 large suitcases full of cups, saucers, spoons, water jugs - everything. He overnighted his grinder and some practice coffee the day before he left - the grinder arrived - but UPS managed to lose the coffee for 3 or 4 days. He left about a week before the comp. Myself and Mike travelled 2 days before - and each had a suitcase full of coffee - different blends - to test with the local water/machines and decide. In the first week that Colter was in Japan, he visited a milk farm and tasted milks to find a suitable one. The blend we didn't use got donated to the Scholarship Cafe - and we poured it while we pulled our shift, making drinks for donations to the fund. Cups and settings take months to select - it's not something you leave until last minute.
On the way home: I carried the grinder... that was fun to take through security.
pburbridge Senior Member Joined: 22 Apr 2005 Posts: 298 Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada Expertise: Professional
Espresso: La Marzocco GS3 Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly Vac Pot: hario 3 cup Drip: Kalita pour over brewer Roaster: I-roast 2
Posted Sun Aug 5, 2007, 3:06am Subject: Re: WBC logistics question
The competitor from Argentina had his bags lot with all his beans and most of, maybe all, of his other competition equipment. It was really sad, people helped him out as best they could but he had to come out using someone elses blend and equipment. He was so obviously disheartened that the nerves really got to him and he went way over time. He seemed like a really nice guy and I felt really sorry for him while I watched and especially afterward when he explained what he had wanted to do that he couldn't do. So, I can understand why competitors would travel with two sets of everything and carry on what is really important.
Luca Senior Member Joined: 27 Jan 2004 Posts: 2,658 Location: Melbourne, Australia
Espresso: H: Maver W: FB-80 Grinder: H: Super Jolly W: Brasilia... Vac Pot: Hario TCA-2 Roaster: Sample Roaster at Work
Posted Sun Aug 5, 2007, 3:48am Subject: Re: WBC logistics question
Yeah, heaps and heaps of stuff to take. It ends up being really expensive to give the WBC your best shot. Having different voltages in different countries doesn't help either - this seems to have blown up one of Scott Callaghan's grinders this year and I think that David's grinder ran extraordinarily slow in Berne ... it was a complete wreck when we got it back.
As for coffee, the competitors will all have different takes on how old it will need to be, but several of the past champions have used coffee that was three weeks or a month old.
Travelling offshore to compete is a logistical nightmare. Have a back up plan for the backup plan. Tokyo this year I had just a little under 200kg of hardware and coffee.
It is a matter of controlling as many of the possible variables as you can. For instance I knew the quality of the milk that I needed, and that it was unavailable in Japan, so I received clearance from Japanese customs to take my own.
With coffee, I new what coffee should be right on the day, but experience tells me that so many variations effect it and I have been burnt in the past, ie we are in winter here in NZ, and Tokyo is in a hmid summer. So for every day I was(or could of been) competing I had 3kg of each one of three roast dates surrounding what "should of been" the correct date. I Also took all of the coffee as singles so I could manage the blending. The coffee I used was 8 and 14 days past roast.
I also had to take a power inverter with me to manage the power for my grinder. Turns out the venue supplied the correct power (which was not what I was initially told) but be a control freak!
When travelling make sure that your essential kit is with you at all times, so no matter what your show can go on. Coffee, cups and other essentioal gear should never leave your sight. Fullstop. It can cause some issues, but they just need to be dealt with.
Scotts grinder didn't have power issues. He pulled it apart the night before and cleaned it, unfortunaltly one of the screws holding the base of the dosing plate down dissapeared, and the other worked it's way up and prevented the segments from turning. Really unlucky but Scotty handled it like a pro.
It can cost a lot to run a decent campaign, but that is just a matter of sourcing sponsorship. Be prepared to get out of the square on it as well, ie getting an airline sponsorship can save some mega dollars. If you are genuine, people want to help.
Always have hardware sloutions for pretty much as uprising. You never plan to fail, only fail to plan. As a competitor, you are able to control every variable with enough planning, except one... the experience and ability of the judges. That is just a role of the dice!
Thanks Wilson. The ZacharyZachary crew did an awesome job.
I did want it, more than anything. Coffee and what we can achieve through it has consumed my life for the past few years but alas. Competing his year really was enjoyable for me, and the competition standards were off the scale. I just about hedged myself to much in the heats... a close thing! Competing with those guys is a real honour and Jim did a stella job to pull number 1.
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