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!