And like that we’re full swing into barista competition season. I will say, the nice thing about being in the Northwest is that I’m pushing preparation out of mind for the month of February. The past two years haven’t given me much of a gap between the regional and USBC. In those cases, I’d give myself a week off to live some life and celebrate, but after that it was back to work.
A week has passed and now I feel like I’ve processed everything enough to write a bit. This regional will always be pretty special to me. Not necessarily for anything I did, but for who was there to be a part of it. Call it 30% industry and 70% personal, but I just got to compete for my best friends, my parents, family friends, and a collection of folks who have seen the photos, watched the live stream, but had never been in the room to taste the coffee and see it in person. Ladies and Gents, these competitions have consumed my life for 4 years, and to share this with my friends was indescribable.
One of the best parts was getting to help and watch my best friend, Ryan Bisson, compete. This kid lived with us in Los Angeles through the USBC last year. He watched us practice, helped us wash and polish, he hauled most of us around in Anaheim. So, it was pretty rad to watch him compete for the first… I’m trying to convince him to give the USBC a go… If his tech scores were more solid, he would have been dangerously close to the finals.
As for my performance, I felt good. This was a chance for me to put my last competition behind me, and to look on to a more focused USBC this year. I received some excellent feedback and can’t really complain about the result. I’m stoked for Sam Purvis, Devin Chapman, Keith, and Matt. In so many ways, these guys continue to impress me with their out-of-the-box thinking. I’m really glad they have applied it to barista competition as well.
The only thing I didn’t get to do in the finals that I really wanted to, was I forgot to give out these to the judges… Wendy, Stumptown’s designer, was incredibly helpful and full of ideas to make this become a reality.
I guess to sum up the weekend, I couldn’t be happier. Stumptown took 2 of the 3 top spots home. Laila and I used two coffees that seriously represent the good work that Ryan Brown and Aleco Chigounis are doing, and we’ve got a ton of momentum to guide us into the USBC this April.
I guess now I need to start practicing some latte art for that Chicago competition…