It’s been a long weekend and I’m about to enjoy a day of visiting the Chicago Intelligentsia stores, as well as, some coffee explorations at our Fulton St. Roasting Works. But man… has it been a long weekend.
We arrived Friday night, so we missed both of the first competition rounds. However, Saturday was packed with tons to do. I poured my way into the finals of Millrock, as did my coworkers. Then Michael Philips and Jesse Crouse worked their way into the finals of the Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition. Sadly, my friend Talya Strader did not make the finals, however, she represented both herself and her coffee well.
The Great Lakes was a tough competition. I wasn’t counting, but it felt like there were many more blends represented here than single origin. However, it was single origin that took home first place… and I am stoked to be able to call Scott Lucey champion.
Scott’s performance was light hearted and fun. It wasn’t too serious, rather, it was full of knowledgable commentary and wit. It was the kind of perfomance that someone outside of the coffee industry could watch and sort of ‘get it’. His coffee was delicious and I’m very glad it scored well. Kyle, as an emcee, mentioned how American espresso that is balanced really just tends to be kind of muted. Scott’s espresso was balanced, however, it was not that old school American balanced. It was bright and full, floral, and intense. It was an espresso I’ll remember for a good while. Oh, and what impressed me most was that Scott used a Robur. No timer, dosered. He had a small mod on the bottom, and he didn’t level the coffee at all. Cheers to that!
Jesse Crouse performed very well. Very relaxed. It makes me quite jealous to see someone up there who presents a coffee well, all while looking like they just don’t care. Devin Pedde has the same characteristic and both seem to do well with it. I also tasted the coffee Jesse used and it, too, was delicious. His coffee was El Mirador, a coffee from Santuario in Cauca Colombia. Santuario is a farm that is broken into different plots of land, each containing a seperate varietal of coffee. The Mirador is the typica found on the farm.
I can’t close this without mentioning Mike Philips. Mike certainly had the most innovative performance of the weekend… Possibly of the competition year. Competitors have used multiple grinders for seperate coffees before. They’ve changed their coffee for different beverages before, but Mike took all that further. For his espresso coarse, Mike dosed his coffee about 17 grams. For his cappuccinos he dosed his coffee at 18 grams, and coarsened the grinder. Finally, he pulled the espresso a third way to create his signature beverage. Not only that, but he used different parts of the espresso extraction to make his signature bevergae… Using the first 18 seconds for one component and the remaining for another. Mike also chose not to use his prep table at all. Rather he treaded the judges table like a bar. With two small waters carts, he kept all his serving ware and drink prep hidden from the sensory judges eyes. Well played, Mr. Philips.
A week from today, Devin and I will be leaving for Portland. I have more scores to post… and when I receieve the real list of GLRBC scores, I’ll post the top 20 scores of the 2008-2009 regional season.