Nik runs Taste Coffee House in Newton and I have been working to coach him as a first time competitor in this year. It was a field of 46, 16 being from the North East of which Nik was participating in.
For those of you who don't know, Nik has spent a lot of time at the lab building up his espresso blend with us at barismo, probably as much as he spent training for the NERBC, but it's something both of us are very proud of. A combo of a Guatemala Atitlan and a Kenya Nyeri, both vacuum sealed at origin and both were given an extra sort at the dry mill. The espresso got good scores in the first round but Nik fell victim to surfing the temps in the second round and we are somewhat at a loss with working on a Synesso/GB5 then going to a heat exchanger. I think his conservative flushing routine was not getting the shots hot enough to get the coloration and intensity but it's all left to a what if discussion at this point.
Nik's cappuccino in the second round looked pretty solid and that's always a mixed bag as some judges want the espresso to really cut through and yet others want it to be balanced. So I am told anyway, but the point is he executed them well.
The Signature drink scored very high in both rounds. I think Hong and Nik's aunt should take a big piece of credit for helping build that with Nik. I won't go into it's details but if you want one, you just have to ask Nik.
I will take some time to digest the trip, post some photos and tell the ballad of 'Cotton Mouth' Krankl soon. Truth is that nobody sees the hard work behind the stage, the help people from our North East crowd which showed up and represented this year who then went into support mode when Nik made finals. Nobody sees the long car rides late at night or the frantic scramble to find dry ice last minute. A big thank you to those who came out and supported but I will take the time to detail some names and give credit where it's due in the next few days.