This one will be short, intimate and a pure sharing of my thoughts.
I think this is the first year in many years in coffee that I literally forgot to watch World Barista Championship. Barista and Brewers. Just forgot. In the middle of all the confusion of my day-today tasks, work, trainings, moving from one house to another, dealing with my coffee projects all at once – championships just happened. And it is funny, cause usually I was the one watching them live back then.
Apparently not this year. Probably the next one.
But as you can see I still want to say something about the Championship.
Last couple of years I have been dissillusioned, I think this is the right word, in coffee competitions, or better to say, people that I knew who competed. Dissillusioned in their motives, in their approach, in their personality.
It all started in Panama. I roasted for one of the baristas who wanted to compete from the coffee shop where I used to work. Was spending my free time giving some tips, discussing the roasts, the rutine, the coffee he wanted to use. Giving him my ideas about the signature drink , because he was not very sure about how to do it, where to start.
And here comes the day of the competition, and the brother of that barista is competing, and presenting me, as a sensory judge, basically my signature drink. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I mean, all that “I am the best”, “I will be teaching other baristas how to work”, obsession with the latte art in big bowls, constant instagramming of the “barista life” – and in the end, he serves me the signature drink that was created by me, to the point that it has spheric ice there. So the brother shared with another brother, and the other presented to me my drink. Basically failing in the only thing that can show his creativity, choosing stealing instead.
My blog and my company are called “Café Sin Mentiras” for a reason. And the reason is that. I praise hard work. I admire humbleness. I appreciate persistence. I take my hat off in front of mastering the skill, and constant learning. I am with those who know that they now very little, and are always learning, doensn’t matter how far they really are. I admire those who invent new things, those who innovate, never stop, never say “It is enough”.
I am trying to work like that, and I admire those who manage to do it. Day by day. Who actually spend more time doing, than shouting out loud about what they did and how cool they are. “Café Sin Mentiras” is about what you actually are, not about what you seem to be.
So. I haven’t seen this years barista championship. The finals are tomorrow. I will watch them later, semi-finals. I have a presentation to do this Wednesday, talking about specialty with the guys who never tried it, and for the first time in my life this seems to me much more challenging task than anything else.
I suppose there were lots of geishas presented, lots of Panamanian geishas. It becomes so common at the championships that it starts to be predictable. But I hope also that there will be something fantastic, something innovative, new varieties, new processing methods, new approach to the role of barista, new tools presented. Something more than “jasmine and bergamot”. Like vacuum sealing the espressos, using frozen coffee, etc… Something that pushes the industry forward, makes us think, invent new things, get better. After all, for me, this is what the championships are for.
I am sure the guys who will go into the finals, be the champions in all the ways. Innovative, hard working, humble, open-minded. True leaders. An example for all of us. An inspiration. Cheers!