Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Coffee and Competition

I'm a big proponent of learning. Education. Learning on the job- I encourage my staff continually because it's something I do every day. I love to cook, love to learn about the food I'm cooking. Learning makes us better.

I'm surrounded by great people who work and learn alongside me and I love to see them pour through books and pursue new talents. Taking trips, visiting great restaurants being around people who do things well. In this list of ways to better oneself is competition.

Competition pushes these people who compete to learn. About themselves, about their craft. I've got a stellar bartender who competes and does well and I love to see her go and better herself by pressing her potential and learning new things.

Included in this realm of competition is coffee. It's not a who can measure the Maxwell House most effectively and push a button on the Mr. Coffee maker to deliver the steaming black liquid into a carafe and pour it from a 6 inch height into a ceramic device and splash in an impressive amount of cream and sugar and wink at the judges. No. It's not a k-cup, or purple pod push button fiesta. It's much more than that.

This competition, which often starts at a regional level, culminates at the World Barista Championship or World Brewers Cup (I'll speak mostly to the World Barista Championship). It's a 15 minute foray into the world of specialty coffee where the competitor, one who has worked months, even years, delivers an, hopefully,  infallible routine to 7 judges (2 technical, 4 tasting and 1 head judge.) Covering topics like sustainability, correct sourcing, intricate tasting notes, heartfelt stories, coffee community and milk science. These routines deliver great looking espresso, cappuccinos and signature drinks. The best presenter is then crowned the winner (figuratively speaking) and then reigns for a year. The coffee loyal masses make pilgrimages to see them and pay homage over the year. Kiss the ring and all that.

This weekend I've got two members of my staff competing in a regional qualifier, aspiring to move on, with the eventual goal of Worlds. Bright, young guys who just want to learn more about coffee. Could a restaurateur ask for more?


Related Posts with Thumbnails