A successful day!

What a day, what a day! I knew it was going to be hectic, for both Stephen and I today but I didn’t think it could turn out so well.

First thing this morning was Stephen’s practice time – pulling shots and actually being very happy with how things were tasting. Then I had to run across to compete in the Cupping competition (do you see a theme here?) I was delighted and amazed to come through my first round without a mistake, finishing in 4th after the first round and going into the semis. Thanks also to Klaus for lending me a Vista Hermosa spoon! Everyone was blown away by Casper’s first round: Eight out of eight in 1.18! So fast, so accurate – we were all a little nervous! Running back to sort out Stephen’s comp music (which I love dearly) and then back again to compete in my semi. I was very pleased to come 5th (a little wood trophy too!) but I definitely didn’t deserve to go further as there were some truly amazing cuppers there. Jorge from El Salvador was particularly awesome and looked the strongest into the three man final. In the end Casper won it, Jorge 2nd and Sweden third.

Just in time for me to run back over to watch Stephen perform. By watch I mean peak from behind my fingers/Jenny/the curtain and try to chat with folks online to ease my nerves. What didn’t help was Stephen’s sig drink spill but his recovery was great and I was delighted to give him a big hug before running off to give a workshop on “Breaking the WBC code”. (not my choice of title)

Despite the SCAE seemingly trying to lock us in a different building I managed to run back in time for the finals announcement. The kept Stephen till the very end and my roar of excitement was very quickly tempered by the feelings of sadness and disappointment for the amazing baristas like Luciano, Chris, Kyle and many others that didn’t get through. For me not seeing Kyle there was particularly disappointing as he is friend and more than that an inspiring barista and all round coffee professional. I had the chance to taste his coffee a few days ago and I loved it, and really wanted to see him perform again. I must also give a shout out to Chris Kolbu’s sig drink – the only one I tasted – that I still think should win best Sig Drink as it was both creative, delicious and a wonderful summation of what we want to communicate about the possibilities of coffee.

So Stephen is through to the finals! Amazing, exciting and I think for him a little disorientating. Anette does an amazing job roasting the coffee, and Stephen clearly delivered what was so exciting about it for us to the judges. I look forward to seeing him do more of that tomorrow and we know what we need to do to improve which is very helpful. Hopefully he can relax and enjoy the experience he has worked for.

Let’s hope his trophy is better than my trophy from today (though I might be sore if he does better at his first WBC than I did at mine!). Looking forward to catching up with all the folks watching online tomorrow! I will be there in the chatroom for as much as I can be – loving the worldwide interaction going on!

Thanks to everyone who has supported us, and congratulations to all of the national champions. 51 baristas who made their countries proud, and I hope to watch perform again soon.

See you all tomorrow!

10 Comments

  1. I worked out the LCD Soundsystem song but could you let me know the name of the other music?
    David Byrne..?
    Many congratulations to the whole team on the results thus far.

  2. Good work James,

    Cheers for all the commentary and thoughts online.

    Take it easy in this prep time for Stephen!

  3. Watching this was so incredible. I believe I would just have died if I’d been in the audience!

  4. Hello Jim: congratulations! for your #5 in the Cupping Competition. Being among the best cuppers explains why you are a world barista champion.

    I don’t know Stephen, but I would like to congratulate him as well…I liked his presentation a lot and his signature drink looked fantastic, I bet it tasted simply out of this world!

    We hope we could see you or Stephen in Guatemala some time! I will start working on a way to make it possible!

    Best regards,

  5. Congrats on Stephen’s win! And thanks again for not letting us down at the workshop.

  6. Just a quick congratulations firstly for Stephen winning! I must say when I found out what coffees you were using in your blend I was quite excited as I have had the opportunity to try coffees from both of the farms and loved them both, although not tried them as espresso so I’ll be pulling them through the machine when I return home. Second thanks for taking a bit of time to talk to me from your busy schedule at the WBC, Im sure everyone was trying to grab hold of you for a caht so it was appreciated. Hopefully I will get a chance to meet you again. Good luck with the business, got to try some of your espresso in London last month and liked what I tasted so hopefully thats a sign of exciting things to come. I’ll wrap this up anyway cos this post may end up bigger than the blog! Cheers and it was a pleasure getting locked in that building with you!lol

  7. Congrats for all the baristas that went there representing their countries…

    Congrats Stephen for the trophy… you really deserved it..

    The Chat @ WBC was really an amazing thing for the whole Barista Community worldwide… I was amazed with the information exchange and integration that happened.

    We need as much of that as caffeine…

  8. Can anyone tell me what Stephen’s music was, cos it was awesome.And well done to both James and Stephen. You both did brilliently!

  9. Congrats for the win….. i loved you espressos… i was in 2nd place in the recently concluded Kenyan Barista championships..Maybe you can filter some ideas to me thanks

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