Nik is getting ready, another practice session today, for competition. We are putting together the support to get him in a good position to deal with his first venture into competition. We are doing our best to give him the worst so when he gets on stage, it will be a bit easier.
Our friends at A&E Roasters may be sending representatives and I think there are more entries we aren't aware of going this year but we will have to wait until the day of competition. barismo may be supporting one more local barista but more on that when it's firm as we have to keep it under wraps because it involves a new account. Simon's is confirmed to not have any competitors and it remains to be seen if other cafes like bloc 11 are going to respond to the influx of area barista this year(yes, I know they read and that's why I asked the question). Even 1369 will be fielding a few competitors so I wonder what the reasons not to show up are?
Competitions are something strange to behold. A stage show you only can experience by competing. On the outside, it looks much more mundane than the boiler it feels like during your fifteen minutes. It may not be for the purists who want to sit around and cup coffee all day, but I will tell you it takes mettle to get up there and I respect those who do. This year, it's good to be new as all the old faces seem to be out f the competition mix this time around. I think that's a good thing because what the competitions need is fresh new faces.
Having been in both the latte art contest and a last minute invite to the USBC a few years ago, I don't revel in competing. The pressure you can put on yourself is intense but worth every bit of stress. Of course, I wasn't saying this after the first round of the USBC, I was cursing the very existence of the thing praying not to make it to the next round. It was afterward, the lessons I learned, and the simple experience of putting myself out there to be judged that I saw a different angle of what it was to compete. You grow up a bit as a professional and that's a good thing. So many of the cafes in our area suffer one simple problem, insulation. They have no larger view than their shop vs another shop down the street set up as some kind of straw man to beat down. A simple illustration of this fact is that some longtime successful cafe owners have finally discovered that single origin and estate coffees do exist.
We all talk about how serious we are about coffee, but the good cafes will find a way of proving it. It might be the mix of coffees served or the flare in serving them, it might be on the competition stage, and it could be by pressing the issue and creating a new coffee bar concept in your region. More on that last teaser soon...