Hello everyone. Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet of late my attentions have been somewhat skewed due to my entry into the UK Barista Championships Finals last week.
First of all Congratulations to Hugo Hercod of Relish who was a deserved winner of the title ‘UK Barista Champion’
Good Luck in Copenhagen
I’m delighted to tell you that I finished 14th with my first attempt and indeed first finals of a coffee competition.
I have learnt so much in entering the UKBC that I can hardly recognise the person who started the journey 8 months ago. If you are thinking about entering next year, DO IT. I’ve made some great new friends, pulled some great shots and made some horrible signature drink combinations which turned the stomachs of many of my friends. I can’t recommend it enough.
The Championships were set in amongst the hustle and bustle of Hotelympia at Exel near Canary Warf in London. The SCAE had a fantastic little corner set up with staging and workshops surrounded by a multitude of café related stands, espresso machine suppliers and scantily clad cake stalls!
24 competitors were whittled down to 6 over 2 days. Unfortunately, this included myself which I was initially a bit peeved at. I think the emotion of the event got to me a bit and with hindsight my placing was correct if not a little high. The competition this year was apparently of a lot higher standard than last year and competitors were just not making the technical mistakes that they have done in previous competitions. Great news for the industry! We are defiantly making some inroads. This competition, thanks to ‘The Hoff’, SCAE and sponsors is defiantly getting some weight now.
A great big thank you to everyone who was involved!
One thing I would recommend which would (in my opinion) create more interest and give the general viewing public a little bit more insight into the passion and dedication of the barista is to mic up the competitors. Speaking from a spectator’s point of view the only interesting part of each performance was the pretty table set up and the fantastically knowledgeable compares who took us through what they managed to hear of each performance. A set of radio mics can’t be that hard to get a hold of, can they? Maybe a little bit of a better back stage area for competitors to store and prepare all their kit before, during and after their performances. I know there was a little bit of grumbling about that.
They are the only little niggles from the three days and I only mention them in the pursuit of pushing the Championships forward over the coming years. Just because people are volunteering to organise UKBC doesn’t mean that they should be immune to any criticism or not take any advice. Having said that, everyone who was involved did a fantastic job and it all went very well.
After the Semis we all had an opportunity to let ‘what hair we had left’ down at Square Mile Coffee Roasters in Bethnal Green. The home of Anette, Steven and James’s new venture played host to the UKBC Barista Party. A charity Latte art Smackdown inevitably raised it’s ugly head and I duly choked under the pressure of the ‘whooping’ crowd. See here (Thank you very much Tristan, you swine).
Thank you to everyone I finally met down there. It’s always a bit funny meeting people who you’ve only had ‘cyber’ relations with, the mutual recognition of Hugo and I on the first day was testament to this. Special thanks to Tristan, Will, Lance, Jonathan, Barry, Helen and Matt who have all become good mates over the last few months. Thanks for making this such a fantastic event for me. I have every intention of competing again next year and indeed for several years into the future as I really want to represent the country on the ‘World Stage’.
Before I finish I must thank my family and Pumphreys Coffee for their support over the past few months. Paula, Stuart, Malcolm, Georgie and Jill, thanks for the support and for putting up with my moods. Above all thanks to my beautiful girlfriend Lorna, without whom I’d have been lost at the competition.
To finish, a little bit of a tease:
I have heard rumblings of a barista ‘boot camp’ weekend which I cant see myself missing, more information will follow here soon I’m sure.
Thanks for reading