Today was the first proper competition day of any sort, without anyone actually competing. We headed out to Big Sight this morning for the competitors briefing. Like previous ones we all had to stand up, introduce ourselves and explain about grinder preferences as well as any other kit we might need. Colter’s ballad was beautiful:
It was good to see the zacharyzachary.com duo and they’ve posted a brief video showing all attending baristas which is nice.
The two interesting things about the meeting were the changes in judges rotations – one set judges a competitor and the waits 4 more to judge again. Altogether 5 pools of constantly rotating judges evaluate everyone. The advantages are that everything happens quicker (which is very welcome when you are waiting for judges to reappear!) and judges can drink more of each drink and chat for longer about each contestant.
The other interesting point is the fact that charging a cream whipper with Nitrogen is illegal here unless done from a specific machine. Which takes around a minute to do. This is significantly longer than the quick twist of an ISI charge most of us are used to. I am planning to use a whipper, so this affects me. Various solutions to this problem (specific only to Japan!) are being sorted. Should be fine. I hope.
After a bit of shopping and a little bit more of Paul Bassett’s coffee it was time to head back to the reception dinner. Trophies were on display and there are more than usual this year. Also up for grabs are best espresso, best cappuccino and best signature drink and also favourite barista (voted for by the baristas themselves.) It was also confirmed that there are cash prizes on offer – $3000 for 1st, $2000 for 2nd and $1000 for 3rd. We also all signed a banner for the winner to take home.
If you are after mementos of the show then nothing says WBC Tokyo 2007 like a limited edition Reg Barber in red or black, at only $100 a pop. The two blue ones will be auctioned off, most likely after we’ve all had a drink!
The signed banner – where will it end up? Stay tuned to find out……