Post NERBC there was a bit of local press coverage from the Globe that really stayed neutral and got quotes from a lot of people there. The globe also did a sidebar piece on Luminaire as well. The Hario brew bar had two of their beta Lb-1 water delivery systems running continuous duty during the 3 days of the event. It was a great field test for their new concept and got them vital feedback from area barista/roasters. We are currently using one in shop right now and there is talk of one at Hi-Rise on Brattle St. as well as Pavement Coffee Bar when it opens. The brew bar and 4th machine were hugely successful and busy during the entire competition. Turnout during all three days was steady but the 4th machine and per cup bars were jam packed consistently.
Anne and Neil of Tamp Tamp ran the espresso machine offering up drinks using a range of the sponsors and roasters who had contributed to the event. Likewise, the Hario and Luminaire per cup bar also rotated drip offerings by featuring two roasters at any one time changing throughout the day.
Both Somerville papers got in on the coverage. Between those articles, there were a few items that seemed a bit off, like '30,000 viewers online' and quoting how we at barismo had hosted competitions for years. We have organized and hosted many events over the years but this was our first barista competition.
As for competitors, we had a very specific goal this year. We did not want anyone to compete from our company but Jamie Lynn decided it would be great for her after the positive experience she had last year supporting a competitor that I felt burned us later. Her goal was to get on stage and complete a routine that represented her and the shop she works at even if that meant taking hits on the score cards or doing things that don't fit in with the stage show. I am happy about how she handled the whole situation because her confidence as a barista has increased as well as the quality of her skill set. I look forward to her article in Barista magazine about the differing experiences. Her role was a specifically unique situation where she took that same attitude of training (not marketing) toward supporting the growth of the barista we sponsored by helping prep them with rule sheets and outlines. Ironic, if only because she fully intended to challenge the rules in her own routine.
In the weeks after competition, I have seen the confidence and attention put in by barista in the community and I have been really proud of the leap in training made by the barista who took the time to use the preparation aspect of competition for personal growth. I am particularly proud of both Alison and Nathaniel at Simon's who had previously had quite bad experiences at competition in the past. It took a lot of courage and dedication to get past those traumatic experiences and turn in good performances this year.
Congratulations to Danielle who took first and to all the other competitors who got up there and put themselves up for critique. We wish her good luck representing the NE even if she is a New Yorker now! It takes a lot to get on stage and handle that pressure. Congratulations to Matt from Matt's wood roasted coffee who took home the NE Regional Cup Taster's prize and is a nice guy to boot. A lot of area barista are looking forward to next year.