It’s easy to see the long term benefits a first time competitor gets from the process of preparing for a barista competition – the huge focus on technical skills, often a first opportunity to cup coffees with a roaster you admire, making new contacts and relationships within an industry rather than just within your own business, and the chance to really focus on how you’re brewing, understanding and communicating a coffee you love – I believe that my first barista competition crystallised for me that coffee was something i could do long term, that it improved my ability to brew and serve coffee and that it made me some of the very best friendships I have.
Competing subsequent times though is different – technical lessons have stuck, friendships have remained, knowledge has grown – I think it’s generally thought that the next time you compete it can be more about learning how to win a barista competition than how to brew better coffee
I disagree – Every time I have prepared for competition it has accelerated by learning, my knowledge, my skill and my love of coffee – This year I’ve learnt more about markets, defects, soil conditions, processing, seasonality, shipping logistics, flavour causes, ageing, gelatine, phosphorous, grind consistency, bpm than i thought possible and each of those and many other subjects are taking me down exciting, interesting roads which will fuel my conversation, reading and self education for the foreseeable future… when 50 people get together with similar amounts of ideas in the same room it’s amazing
If you’ve not competed before, it’s an amazing opportunity – well worth embracing, if you have competed before and are thinking about competing again, do it!!!!
Looking forwards to seeing what you all bring to the table,