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Thread: First Competition - advice + tips?

  1. #1
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    First Competition - advice + tips?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey all, as the title suggests I will be competing in my first competition in two weeks time! I have done a search and picked up a bit of information, but as the competition Ive (been) entered into is a bit more informal than most, I was just after some general advice as opposed to anything relating to choosing coffee.

    A quick overview of the competition though...

    Its between 4 cafes as part of the franchise in my city, and regrettably, does not really allow for knowledge and expertise to show. As barista, we are given 18 minutes (5 mins set up, 8 mins performance, 5 mins cleanup) to produce two single shot espressos and 2 single shot lattes. You dont need to explain to me how unrepresentative of good coffee the selected drinks are, our management is retarded.
    During competition weve been told to treat the judges as if they were customers who know little of the coffee experience they are about to have. In all honesty, this isnt far from the truth.

    We will be using Orb 101 coffee (mass produced coffee, served too young and like most commercials, quite dark).

    So! How would other CSers treat this sort of competition? How much should I dumb down the coffee talk for the judges? Obviously, talking to them like a customer that knows little about coffee is the suggested, but in doing that I wouldnt be truly showing them my knowledge on the subject, and truthfully, using the coffee and the machine that will be provided, this would probably be my strength.

    Help?

  2. #2
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: First Competition - advice + tips?

    Well I would suggest starting with a more specific description than my quick google found...

    "Rich and full aroma. A full smooth espresso thick with ripe fruit and dark cocoa notes finished with a spicy zing. This coffee has full body characteristics highlighted in milk beverages. 100% Arabica blend."

    I could pick that apart with what they really mean but that would be a cheap shot. ;)

    Do you know much about the coffee? Origin(s), ratio and the roasters reasons that they think this is how it should be?

    Without the specifics on the blend and the roast "logic" it would be pretty tricky to talk much about the coffee so you might have to rely on talking about the process more.

    Talk about the grind settings, the pour, what you are looking for while it pours and the resulting aromatics this produces in the cup. That will lead into the milk texturing and the reasons that a scalding hot milk will have lost its sweetness.

    You wont have too much trouble filling in 8 minutes.


  3. #3
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    Re: First Competition - advice + tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by 333F2A2A273A285E0 link=1310378551/0#0 date=1310378551
    So! How would other CSers treat this sort of competition? How much should I dumb down the coffee talk for the judges?
    I would treat the competition seriously, If you are serious about coffee and have the passion to maybe move onto the proper barista stage oneday ,then I can see this as being a good opportunity to wow the judges with your knowledge.

    If I were one of the judges I would rather see someone with lots of passion and enthusiasm. Also you are representing your cafe and your team!....get in there and do your best mate!

    If nothing else it will look good on your resume if you win!

    good luck :)


  4. #4
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    Re: First Competition - advice + tips?

    For my own entertainment Andy, please pick it apart!

    Though seriously, thanks for the response guys. Unfortunately I do not know more about the coffee as at our particular branch of the shop we do not deal with Orb Coffee, instead using Atomic coffee...so I cant even talk about the practical aspects of the coffee. I might head down to the roastery (commercial) and see if they can give me some more detailed notes in the next few days though.
    So that being said, Id agree with sticking to talking about the process.

  5. #5
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    Re: First Competition - advice + tips?

    Good luck with it, be sure to let us know how you go!

    :)

  6. #6
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    Re: First Competition - advice + tips?

    So, uh...not my best. :)

    The comp was set out as a 1 on 1 session, just me and the judge. My boss was meant to tell me when I was scheduled, but after receiving a message from my supervisor saying she was surprised I didnt enter, I left my lecture half way through and got there as quick as I could! Ended up arriving just before the judge left and was able to submit a quick entry.
    So I was rushed (and not really thinking clearly) to start with, which inevitably came through my performance.
    Additionally, to make things worse, when I first arrived the judge asked me to make two expressos, and without thinking I instantly corrected her by saying "espresso", with particular emphasis on the es (rookie error #1). The words were not even out of my mouth and I was trying to take them back!
    And things didnt really pick up from there. I poured two great single shots, to the letter of the comp specifications in regards to timing, dose and consistency, but forgot to taste them in my prep due to being stressed (rookie error #2). The milk in my cappuccinos wasnt the best and I tried to go too tech with the art and ended up with something not representative of what I could do. Shouldve stuck with a heart... (rookie error #3)
    And finally, I ended up having a bit of wasted milk (<50mL, but still, this usually doesnt happen) as when I was pouring I was thinking about when to stop the extraction and went pour-happy (rookie error #4)!

    Overall though, it was quite a good experience. Ive realised that in the future I need to be more succinct in my explanations of affecting factors, and to try and maintain a clear head regardless of the situation!

    I find out in the next few days if I made the final, but I doubt it...

  7. #7
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    Re: First Competition - advice + tips?

    The judge said eXpresso? :o :o :o :o

    You cant be blamed for correcting that!!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: First Competition - advice + tips?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 5B607F676A7D0F0 link=1310378551/6#6 date=1312510370
    The judge said eXpresso?* :o :o :o :o

    You cant be blamed for correcting that!!!

    Could have been to see what the response was in line with
    During competition weve been told to treat the judges as if they were customers who know little of the coffee experience they are about to have.
    Let us know how you go and best of luck 8-)



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