Heard some really good things coming out of the comp already, including some sort of Barista get together the night before (last night?) featuring some fun competitions, and just a very cool way to make the competitors seem like a community.
(whispered - something that comps should have done long ago ;)).
And apparently there was a Judges' Appreciation Dinner? That's a first! ;) Things seem to be looking up for competitions.
That reminds me - I have to get my cheque off to Sandy Hon... I'm paying for the beer for something at the midwest :)
Yes, yesterday Matt Riddle flew down for the "Barista Games" with competitors. The judges' appreciation dinner is a regular event at the SERBC (well, at least for the last three that I've attended). It was a great time at Pop's in Durham. There's a judges / competitors reception tomorrow night. Last year it was a casual event with good finger foods, desserts, a DJ, and open bar.
The sponsors that Counter Culture and the SCAA line up for the event are fantastic. This year they even have prizes during the competition for spectators. Some were gag gifts like the "barista action figure", but they also gave away a subscription for 10 pounds of coffee. Chai tea, smoothie mix, and chocolates were also given away.
This year I'm not doing the extensive blogging I did last go-around, but I'm at least writing up the signature drinks.
So I walk into the roasting room last night for the Barista Games at Counter Culture, and Matt Riddle comes around the corner with a Bud in his hand. He was a bit of a suprise guest to be sure, also very nice and friendly. He read a series of trivia questions, and we played "guess the decaf" from 3 air pots, which turned out to have 2 identical Sumatra Gayos and a decaf Sumatra. Nick Cho was the only one out of 25 to get it right. We also played toss the group head gasket into the PVC tube from 30 feet. I did get the only "ringer" of the evening, which was a very satisfying victory for me, considering my competition results from today.
Nick's team and my team were neck and neck in points by the end of the games, so he and I went head to head in a latte art pour off. We had to start pouring the milk at the same time, and then Matt called out a number, and we had to form a rosetta with that number of leaves as counted from the left side "on the fly", as it were. My rosettas are a little iffy on a good night, and Nick beat me outright with a very attractive 8 leaf rosetta in a 6 ounce cappuccino cup.
My team did win the Barista action figure, which I placed on my machine during my performance to day. I think I did very well, having pulled what I thought were pretty good shots for the most part, and coming across in a relaxed and well spoken manner. There was just the issue of going 2 minutes and a couple of seconds over 15 minutes, which gets me disqualified I believe, that marred an otherwise respectable performance.
Here is a little eye candy for those who are interested. Byt the way, she is female, she has mammary glands under that green apron. That particular shade of green seems so familiar, I just can't put my finger on it.
We had a great turnout for the games, and I was so happy that the Barista's really got in to the evening. Big thanks to CCC, Monin, Espresso Supply and everyone that sponsored the evening. BTW, I forgot to announce all the answers for the Trivia round, but we did that on the Podcast that Nick and I did on pf.net, if anyone was curious.
Phil, you forgot the best game of all!! The blindfolded syrup free pour - pour an ounce of syrup into a 1.25 oz shot glass without overfilling....which you were the only one to successfully do, i might add. I hope someone has my exhibition round photographed, because that's going in my all-time greatest moments. :)
Dan - sorry for missing you and the chance to make your cappa. I had to go over to the theatre and see it while i had the opportunity.
I can't wait to hear the results of the first round. Good luck to all!
I did not let Matt pour out the shot glass untill I got this picture, looks like I went a little over the line, good thing I wasn't disqualified from this contest. We also were not allowed to hold the shot glass, by the way. You try it at home folks, just lay out the platic sheet first.
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