European Team Challenge
It was the best coffee event I have ever attended. I have never had so much fun, learnt so much, or met so many cool people all at one time. It was so well organised that I swelled with pride to be Irish. I suddenly realise that I'm not yet an official member of the Irish Chapter of the SCAE and now feel quite strongly that this needs adressing. It was great to meet baristas from Russia, Germany, Iceland, Estonia and the UK. Some I had met before, and I only wish I had spent more time getting to know them all before they left. I think I probably met them all, but some of those encounters occurred under sever intoxiation and so I'll hold back from declaring any new bosom buddies. It was great to catch up with old aquaintences and friends such as Jim Hoffman, Simon Robertson, David Cooper, Se Gorman, Ben Townsend, Gary Mc Gann, and new friend, Steve Leighton. I am writing this with a head cold strong enough to knock out a small family, so please don't feel offended if I don't mention your name in this post. Needless to say though, these sort of events are nothing if they don't have great people involved. As regards competing, we were put through a considerable number of workshops and tests including roasting, green bean seminars, analysing the new and current wbc rules, cupping, machine maintenance and blind latte art. I will avoid going into too much detail as many of you will hopefully read about it in Barista Magazine in an issue or two. If you can't wait that long, Jim should have his account of the show posted in a matter of minutes. I was really quite happy with how well we did. If we hadn't come first in the Blind latte art we would have placed around 5th. Although we came last in it, amongst the Irish team we agreed we enjoyed the triangular cupping competition the most. Possibly because it pulled on our team spirit more than the others or possibly more because it was just so much fun. But if I had to pick the workshop I learnt most from, I would have to say it was the Filter Brewing Workshop. Paul Stack, who helped organise most of the competition, did a fantastic and thorough presentation. I apologise for the level of detail in this post, but I am still suffering from the considerable amount of drink consumed over the event. I will leave it to more adequate others to fill in my blanks. If I feel something wasn't covered enough I will cover it. The comp was quite tight in the end with Russia and the UK apparently neck and neck. Well done to the UK on a thoroughly deserved win. However, I would like to say I totally agree with what it says on the SCAE Irish site, 'The experience of competing is the prize. Winning the competition is a bonus'.