Thursday, August 30, 2007

Espresso Illuminati

22 august there was this fascinating article in 'The News & Observer'.

DURHAM - Over the whines and hisses of brewing espresso, several self-described coffee geeks shout "Money shot!" and "Party foul!" while testing their barista skills on the Rolls Royce of coffee makers.

At 7:30 a.m. on Fridays, about a dozen men -- mainly engineers and scientists by profession, some dressed in T-shirts and jeans, others in RTP-appropriate dress-shirts and slacks -- gather at Counter Culture Coffee. The Durham coffee roaster hosts these weekly gatherings at its barista training center so these men can play with a special edition La Marzocco FB-80, a gleaming, chrome and blue machine that can brew three espresso shots at once and costs $14,000.

On a recent Friday, Dan Kehn, the espresso-obsessed Cary man behind, and Kevin Krautwald, a telecommunications engineer at Tekelec, are manning the La Marzocco FB-80. The two make shot after shot, while the others evaluate. Akin to a wine tasting, they inspect. They sniff. They sip. They swirl. They repeat.

Holding a small white cup and judging his handiwork, Kehn says, "That is pretty. I beat you there, buddy."

"Mine tastes better," Krautwald retorts.

The difference between the two shots is discernible only to these men. They object to being called coffee snobs and prefer "espresso illuminati."

Among their ranks: Kehn, who gets paid to review espresso equipment and describes the difference between coffee made with high-end versus low-end machines as comparable to the difference between H…agen-Dazs and Sealtest ice cream; Lino Verna, a mechanical design consultant from Creedmoor who modifies espresso filter handles as a small part of his company's business; Krautwald, who occasionally informs coffee shop baristas that he is a certified judge with the Speciality Coffee Association of America and offers them pointers ("Do you flash your badge?" Verna quips); and Mike Walsh, who showed this reporter how to roast coffee beans at home using a secondhand $2 popcorn popper, an empty green bean can and a screwdriver.

These men are not alone in their obsession. With the rise of Starbucks and an expanding awareness that there is more to coffee than Folgers brewed in a Mr. Coffee, more Americans are developing a refined palate for coffee, espresso and the like. In 2007, for the first time in two decades, the percentage of people who drank coffee every day -- 57 percent -- surpassed the percentage of people who drank soft drinks daily, 51 percent, according to the National Coffee Association. By another measure, there were 1,650 coffee shops in the United States in 1991. Last year, there were 23,900.

Seeking perfection

For the espresso illuminati, perfection requires specific instructions.

An espresso should be brewed within 30 seconds after grinding the beans. (Of course, those beans were roasted within the last two weeks.) You then measure the grounds, evenly distribute them in the filter basket, level them, tamp them and hope that the water temperature, pressure and volume will extract the right balance of flavors. A good shot will have a crema with caramel-colored foam and dark flecks resembling a sprinkling of cinnamon. The crema will be thick and have staying power. The espresso will taste buttery and possess a sweet-bitter balance, akin to dark chocolate.

Because so many things can go wrong, the ideal is elusive.

"In espresso preparation, if you are off the mark by a very little bit, you rapidly miss the mark," explains Bob Barraza, a retired chemist in Apex who coined the term "espresso illuminati."

In pursuit of perfection, these men bring their science minds to their favorite beverage.

"Coffee is at its best when you weigh it, you grind it precisely -- that appeals to these guys," said Peter Giuliano, Counter Culture Coffee's co-owner and director of coffee. "When you approach it in that way, that's when you unlock its potential. There's a natural symbiosis."

Talking smack

Before brewing began on that same Friday, Kehn announced that they would be conducting an experiment: comparing the Mazzer Super Jolly Espresso Grinder, priced at $699, versus the Mazzer Kony Espresso Grinder, costing about $1,400. Each shot would use 18 grams of Counter Culture Coffee's Aficionado espresso that had rested for three days. They would conduct a blind side-by-side comparison to determine "which one is really worth the extra money for a home barista." However, no winner was chosen that morning.

The orderly taste test evolves into caffeine-fueled play. The baristas are taunting each other's shot-making skills. Kehn jokingly asks if Counter Culture Coffee will sponsor his attendance at the World Barista Championship in Tokyo. The men debate what to serve this observer: a macchiato.

Watching the scene, Mark Overbay, Counter Culture Coffee's marketing manager, observes, "The technical stuff is out the window. Now we're just making drinks and talking smack."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Stockholm Coffee Capital

On the lookout for a fine city trip, it became Stockholm. Not in the last place for its well known coffee culture.
It's right in your face on every street corner. The way 7 Eleven shows it in all their windows ; say no more.

Of course we did not come to drink super market coffee. It was the real stuff we were aiming for. I ordered the espresso's and Isabel the Cappuccino's or Latte's.

The first bar we entered was Mazzarini on Gamla Stan. Not for any special reason, but it showed directly what it was all about in Stockholm ; the Italian cut.
One Euro espresso's with lots of Italian styled roasts or brands, Italian machines, grinders. All Italian yes, but better than over there. The Swedish are used to dose shot by shot, tamp correctly and clean their filters and group heads. Bravo!
At Mazzarini they used Caffè Monteriva coffee. Although this Barista was the least of the pack, it was an OK start.

Then we were heading to Sostra at Jacobs Bergsgatan. As you can see on their price list : Italy is in the house. And very typical for Stockholm they were not offering a wide choice of drinks. It's a pity with their good foaming and brewing techniques, nobody has the creativity of making a bit more out of it.

Non Solo Bar (Odengatan). Very spectacular view. Two Barista's who know their profession. But how disappointed i was sipping my first espresso/ristretto. They had a new local Arabica Roast on the try out bench and i became the victim. Very harsh. Like an under extraction and ... i don't know what. Because i couldn't believe this gifted Barista pulled this failure i went in to talk and order their home brand : Passalacqua. By accident the espresso of the week at Caffenation , but a different variety. And again it didn't work for me. Something is wrong with the machine? Besides of that i saw a good atmosphere and great Latte Art.

Time for the Mellqvist kaffebar, located nearby the St Eriks Plan, Rörstrandsgatan.
Do you c this photo?!! A 5-group La Marzocco! After Milan, Sydney, Vancouver and Seattle, this was the fifth in the world. At least that's what Per said. He and his fellow Barista welcomed us at the bar, but we were too late for a drink. Not for a talk and a present. He gave me a sample from their roaster, David Haugaard, and a rendez vous for the weekend. (review later on this week)

One day later our first stop is at Espresso House at Götgatan, nearby this fantastic neigbourhood SOFO. At first i was a bit reluctant to enter this big chain feel bar you find all over towns like Malmö and Stockholm, but the hell with it, we need some caf.
They use Faema equipment and young female Barista's not really looking used to do the job, but what a surprise in the cup. The temperature was a tad too low, but nevertheless a sweet a good balanced cup with a fantastic after taste from this Mokacrema blend. Not to have anything against Italian or robusta - i do myself still make small percentage robusta containing blends - but i want not only punch, but also detailed tastes and fruit and that's what i got at Espresso House, also at our second visit at another shop the day after. After checking the website i saw the blend contained El Salvador, Ethiopia, India and Guatemala. That gives us almost 80% of our House Blend. Now i understand why i like it, also why it still tastes very good when it cools down.
And no spectacular Latte Art, but fantastic sweet and velvety milk foam on the cappa.

Up to the famous Caffelini at Gamla Stan. They have this boring, over touristy location and interior. Their brand is another, for me unknown, Italian called Filicori. Like i've seen at some other bars, he only works with double portafilters and had no problem letting the second shot flowing down the drain. What's wrong with single shots? Read to much Schrömer? Also weird was to see him cleaning the basket with a brush. The results : Good to almost perfect, but a tad to much robusta on a too high roast for my personal taste.

The Sunday was just as the other days very sunny and we went to see some modern art.
At the entrance Rasmus was waiting for us. He's running the espresso bar at the museum and is without any doubt the best Barista i met on our trip. So we talked and talked and talked and ... drank some espressi.
He had this Barcelona brand Dibar on the grinder, with a 30% Oeganda Robusta in it. He likes the bitterness and body of it and i guess he's right. Very good cup at this beautiful bar in the fantastic museum.

But to finish of we had to go back to Per at the Mellqvist kaffebar and his 5-group LM.
Besides this monster he had another monster waiting ; a Mazzer Robur. The bar was packed and the atmosphere boiling. He told us he was at only 50% brain capacity because of a hang over. Unfortunately i noticed this in his shot. Was it overdosed or grinded to fine? ; result was a short harsh cup, what you often get if the pour is too slow, that didn't do justice to the blend and machinery. Nevertheless my favourite bar and very recommendable!

Conclusion : Stockholm is a must visit for all coffee lovers, certainly for those who crave for a nice Italian styled cup. Most impressive was the milk foam, less the combination of milk and espresso, which was a bit off track from time to time.
Weird is that i mostly paid €1,10 for espresso, but €1,70 at the museum and €1,80 at Espresso House and those were my favourites. I know probably a lot of Stockholm Barista's are going to kill me for this ; but it was at Espresso House we had the best espresso and cappuccino. I guess their training and blend building is in hands of people who know what they're doing.

So, book your flight now : Stockholm is a fantastic city with nice, very friendly, good looking people and great coffee.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Holiday Season

It was a fun time living like our grand parents.
Somewhere in Gelderland, the Netherlands we were camping in this nice tent.
Coffee : A bag of freshly roasted Indian Mysore.
Materials : This old fashioned but very cosy stove. A 60's Douwe Egberts wall hand grinder. A Bodum double walled French Press. A Bodum Milk Frother. A water kettle. And a small milk pan.
It all takes a bit longer than at home, but good coffee/latte it was.

And it all linked with my posts this week. Visiting Paris and writing about the all famous Esmeralda bean is just a small step. When i read this one Victor Hugo Book long ago i was deeply impressed.
I've been to Paris a dozen of times, and every time again passing by the Notre Dame cathedral my mind wonders back to this book where Quasimodo lives in his bell tower dreaming of the beautiful Esmeralda.
Today i'm dreaming of tasting the Esmeralda bean. The book is from 1831 and it's a funny coincidence how this name survives over time.
Unfortunately no good coffee in Paris. I heard about a cool roaster somewhere Jazzy Jeff picked up some (not so very fresh) beans on his visit last month, but did not have time to visit myself.

Tomorrow i'm off for a city trip to Stockholm. I suppose Esmeralda is not a very common name in Sweden....
Curious how the coffee tastes at Sostra, Caffellini or Zanzibar. And looking forward of meeting Magnus from Espressospecialisten. C u.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Australian Skybury

(click on the map to enlarge and see the plantation area)

I think it's kinda weird the Australian Skybury never had some good reviews. At Hasbean they sold it with lots of success, although they thought it didn't work well on espresso, in revanche of the Australian Mountain Top.
At Sweetmaria's they go even further comparing the taste "between copy paper and plastic rappers"!! A shame, or did this new Australian Skybury crop improved at once?
I've been a fan from the first time i tasted it, that was somewhere in April.
I like the clean and well balanced taste of it. A little bit of everything and low in acidity and bitterness.
Very subtle body with a bit of strawberry and chocolate flavors.

It's a tour de force to pick the cherry's in these mountains, where they grow without the need of any chemical detergents spraying.

At Full City Roast : Espresso or lungo of the week at Caffènation. A must taste.

La Esmeralda in a cup in Vancouver

Coffee Hits $15 at the Pump

Hacienda La Esmeralda Jaramillo Especial

Panama By Steve Burgess
Published: August 20, 2007
A guy like me gets pretty smug when gas prices rise. Yes, I have a car, but that's mostly so I can park it at the curb and pay the occasional fine. Living downtown it's easier to walk or cycle, so my periodic petrol purchases don't put much of a dent in my wallet. Mere financial fender-benders. The bitter tears of the bridge-and-tunnel crowd are mother's milk to me.

But today I'm scared. Because now the price of fuel is really going up. The $15 cup of coffee has arrived.

Addicted in Vancouver

It was probably inevitable that someone would figure out it's possible to charge 15 bucks for a cup of coffee and make it stick. In Vancouver, Caffe Artigiano and 49th Parallel Roasters are those people. Amid much media fanfare, they recently introduced Hacienda la Esmeralda Especial, a Panamanian bean named "world's best coffee" at the Specialty Coffee Association of America's Roasters Guild Cupping Pavilion Competition. At wholesale it went for $130 US per pound. Not quite as expensive as the Kopi Luwak coffee beans that are plucked from the feces of civet cats and sold for about $600 per pound. But pricey enough that a little pot brewed from the Panamanian beans retails for 15 smacks. If Panamanians swallowed them whole and then harvested them later, who knows how much they'd fetch?

As it turns out, the price seems to have been right. Inside of a week, the initial consignment of 80 pounds was almost sold out. Add in the huge media coverage, and a modest financial gamble has paid off handsomely for Caffe Artigiano and 49th Parallel. And for some of us, Gabriel's trumpet has sounded. Armageddon looms.

I tasted the Panamanian brew. It didn't do much for me, but that means nothing -- as an espresso fiend, drip coffee of any sort will always be piss water to me. The important thing is that a barrier has been breached. Like a future serial killer who tastes blood for the first time, a coffee retailer has taken the first step down a dark (if aromatic) path. Fifteen dollar coffee, and it sold. Fast. Now that the sellers know what the buyers will put up with, there will be no end. My fellow caffeine slaves: they're onto us. Prepare to steal television sets and sell your body to strangers.

First they hook you...

Coffee addiction is so widespread that it provided the answer to a mysterious medical syndrome. For years, doctors wondered about the phenomenon known as "post-surgical headache," the common tendency for most patients to wake up in the recovery room with a pounding head. Eventually the truth dawned -- it was simple caffeine withdrawal, aggravated by the pre-surgical injunction against fluids. Caffeine addiction is so pervasive that doctors had assumed the condition was the result of surgery itself.

So they've got us by the short hairs. Luckily, dealers have been slow to realize it. Thus far the rise of expensive coffee drinks has been a matter of adding chocolate and caramel and foam and frou-frou touches completely unrelated to the actual addiction. This meant that addicts could escape with cheaper, more potent drinks, thick little globs of espresso to be sipped or gulped or sucked into a syringe and injected between one's toes. Not me. Not yet. But I'm close.

It happens that Caffe Artigiano is where I choose to spend my time and money, even schmoozing with staff and management. These people I took to be my friends have in fact been studying me and making plans. They saw me furtively licking the edge of my empty espresso cup. And they knew. They laughed, I know, as the realization dawned. $15 coffee -- what's the poor bastard going to do? You've got to pay the price at the pump.

There must be another way -- something cheaper. What does gas taste like? Maybe with sugar?

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Zealand Coffee Festival

When my man from the Oever Caffènation bar Dieter H came back from New Zealand he had this Hawthorne bag with him. Excellent coffee from a great company from a coffee crazy country.

Every year they have this New Zealand Coffee Festival. And again Hawthorne won some prices, although the biggest winner was Toasted Espresso (click link below).
Also interesting to find back Carl Sara at the Latte Art Championship results. Bronze at the WBC and silver now ; what a Barista!

Toasted Espresso win the Supreme award for NZ roasters! The small Auckland Roaster, Toasted Espresso, won the Flat white section of the annual NZ Coffee Awards and also took out the top honour. Owner Chris Innes has been a regular medal winner over the last few years, but was 'blown away' to hear that he had bagged the biggest prize of all.

Head Judge, Instaurator, once again praised the quality, innovation and passion of the NZ roasting industry. He and a team of 12 judges tasted well over 200 individual blends of coffee over a 3 day period and whittled the best of the roasts into Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners lists.

See full results here

The inaugural Equal New Zealand Latte Art Championships - and the winner is...

The 2007 winner of the Equal New Zealand Latte Art championship was Andrew Feldon from Streetwise Coffee in Sanson. This small town barista upset the recent 3rd place-getter at the World Barista Championships, Carl Sara, and his fellow Black Cup team-mates, Luciano Marcolino and David Huang to snare the $2000 prize before an audience of several hundred.

1st - Andrew Feldon - Streetwise Coffee, Sanson

2nd equal - Carl Sara - Muffin Break, Christchurch

2nd equal - David Huang - Independent barista trainer

4th - Scott Pepler - Robert Harris, Auckland

5th - Luciano Marcolino - Vivace, Christchurch.

6th - Joanne Lawson - Robert Harris, Rotorua

Da Vinci Trans-Tasman Barista Championship.

Sadly the Cafetto NZ Black Cups narrowly succumbed in the first leg of this event to the Baristaroos. The kiwis, featuring Carl Sara, three time NZ national champion, Luciano Marcolino also a previous NZ champion and David Huang were pipped by the Aussies again. But hey, they gave it a great shot, egged on by the supportive kiwi crowd whipped up by MC John Riley and team leader Chris White. The second leg in Adelaide in October will decide who gets to keep the Trans-Tasman trophy.

Friday, August 17, 2007


In between Holland and Paris, a quick post-link.
First i trew this overdose article online. A friend mailed it and i found it a couple of hours ago in my box. Later on i saw it was all over the web already. I was cut of the world wide web for 4 days and didn't know this, so don't judge me on this 'cheap' and late article.

Meanwhile i found world's sexiest espressobar. It's located in Seattle - of course.
Click : Chickalatte and watch it. As a Barista you can pick your own sexy uniforme. Hm.

C u next week.


Overdose drama of girl who had 14 cups of espresso

By PAUL SIMS - More by this author » Last updated at 16:23pm on 14th August 2007

A teenage waitress overdosed on caffeine after drinking 14 shots of espresso.

Jasmine Willis, 17, could hardly breathe and was taken to hospital with a high temperature and heart palpitations.

She had drunk almost three times the recommended daily amount of caffeine in just four hours.

Jasmine Willis was hospitalised after she drank seven double espressos

Miss Willis, a student, was working part-time out in her father Gary's recently-opened sandwich bar after sitting her GCSEs.

She began her coffee binge last Wednesday after getting only five hours' sleep the previous night.

"I decided to have a double espresso to perk me up," she said. "It did the trick so I had one after another and they seemed to be working. I felt great - as if I could take on the world."

By noon she was feeling unwell and crying and laughing uncontrollably in front of bewildered customers.

Miss Willis said: "My nerves were jangling. Tears were streaming down my face. People kept asking me if I was all right."

Her father sent her home but by the following morning she could not feel her lips and was struggling to breathe.

Miss Willis, from Stanley, County Durham, spent several hours under observation at the University Hospital of North Durham, where the caffeine overdose was diagnosed.

She said: "I was drenched and burning up and hyperventilating.

"I was having palpitations, my heart was beating so fast. I think I was going into shock".

Miss Willis is due to start her Alevels at college next month, studying law, psychology, sociology and accountancy.

She said last night: "Coffee is fine in moderation and really does pick you up, but I just overdid it. I didn't realise what could happen, so I hope other people learn from my mistake."

"I felt exhausted for days afterwards and I can't even bear the sight of coffee now".

Her father said: "Jasmine was just helping out in her holidays and had started on the 8am shift.

"She doesn't usually drink coffee at all, not even instant. But I've just had a beautiful new coffee machine installed so she thought she'd try an espresso."

The Department of Health advises people not to drink more than five single espressos or four cups of instant coffee a day.

Earlier this year scientists questioned the validity of the traditional view that caffeine can reduce the effects of tiredness and increase alertness.

The Bristol University team found that the levels of alertness among those who drank coffee were almost the same as those who had drunk none.

Coffee has been found to have some health benefits, however, Studies have suggested it can protect against the onset of Parkinson's disease and keep the mind sharp into old age.

Tea and coffee also contain a wealth of other health-boosting compounds.

A spokesman for the British Coffee Association said: "There are thousands of published studies which demonstrate clearly that moderate coffee drinking - four to five cups a day - is perfectly safe.

"Increasingly, there is evidence to suggest that there are health benefits from it. The key to any healthy, balanced diet is moderation in all things and this applies to coffee."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Holiday in Holland

I'm going to be out of office for the rest of the week.

We're staying at a farm with the kids for 4 days and nights.
It's going to be a challenge to produce some good cups i think. We have one stove. On there we need to cook the water. In my baggage i have a Bodum press and milk frother. In the tent we're sleeping they have an old fashioned hand coffee mill. Back to basics.
Still some nice Costa Rica and Mysore beans packed. Yummy.

For the rest again working at the new House blend. Found the right combination, but i'm going to wait for some more Costa Rica HTM Tournon estate to trow in the battle, before i take any decisive measures. Does this sound right?

Last week we had some Puerto Rico coffee beans. I payed a lot of money for this one, but it was worth every penny.
Very heavy body, some sweet bitter caramel, dark and complex flavors and very clean aftertaste resting on the top of the tongue. Impressive.

For September 23, i have a new Barista Jam on schedule. Geert, Bart, Lorin, Linda, Johan, Bianca and Olivier are already on the list. And Klaartje? After 3 missed opportunity's.... will she get another shot at a Jam???

Cupping events : September 17 i'm heading to Jasper in the Netherlands to cup till i drop. And at the beginning of October i want to organise a cupping night with the help of Laurent. Soon more.

So enjoy your cup of Joe without fresh posts from my side. I'll be back on Friday. Ciao.

ps : help, i'm wearing on this photo the same t-shirt as the guy below. :-) Thanks Zander.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Testing milk for the WBC

I know i've been on and on about this World Championship from last week.
And i know i'm more than a bit impressed by James's title.
But this vid is so funny : Flying Irish Thud Stephen is taken the responsibility on his shoulders to pick the right (Japanese) milk to compete with. Hilarious.

Two bags of Stumptown

Getting the possibility to taste some coffee roasted and packed by Stumptown Coffee Roasters was like a dream come true.

Last month Sietse, from Bagels and Beans gave me a couple of leftovers. I guess Kees brought them along from the West Coast.
Thank you coffee friends.

The roast was a bit on the light side and definitely too old, but i was very happy to cup them.

The COE Brazil Serra do Bone was an explosion of fruit. A weird mix that must have bean fantastic when fresh from the farm. No wonder Stumptown payed this high price (some like$15 a pound?) for this special coffee. Although i ask myself who as a consumer is going to pay so much money (green price times 3?) for a bag of coffee, and how do they brew it?

The Ethiopia Misty Valley Idido (Yirgacheffe) must have been the best coffee i ever cupped. An incredible combination of well known Mokka's and Yirgacheffe, but with much more taste, very sweet, caramel, lemon zest, a lingering body and strong spiced chocolate aftertaste. Fantastic!

Eagerly waiting to go to Portland myself. First i had plans to fly of at the end of October, but now it looks like it's going to be Ethiopia, a visit to the birthplace of our drug.
I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Espresso porn in Antwerp

Yes, it took a while before hitting the web.
You like the colors and lines we create via this bottomless, naked portafilter?

I bought this tool to show students the use of good tamping, but sometimes creating art with coffee...

Second photo is when the first drops of concentrated coffee are pressed trough the filter basket. Cool!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

James Hoffmann at Caffenation

Originally uploaded by cofaholic
Like all fanatic Baristi, one day or another you get hooked to the Jimseven webblog. And after meeting Anette at the Belgian Finals i became an even bigger fan.
So it was a great honor having him at our cafe at the Latte Art World Championships earlier this year.
That's when Jaanus took this nice foto (thank you) of him, drinking a Mokka Harrar espresso, with Zander, Anette and our Design lamp-ceiling filling up the frame. Good memory's never fade.
Since that day he was my favorite for the crown. And today he is wearing it.
Congratulations James and hopefully we meet up during the year.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Hoffmann in action on post 100!

First Place - World Barista Champion James Hoffmann from Great Brittain.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Peter is 15th at the WBC

Great Performance. Belgium is bit by bit climbing up the ladder.
Congratulations Peter, Bart, Manu and all the others with this fantastic result!!!!
(photo from Knack blog)

James Hoffmann takes the crown.

6th place: Brazil Barista Champion Sylvia Magalhaes

5th place: Switzerland Barista Champion Anna Kaeppeli

4th place: Japan Barista Champion Miyuki Miyamae

3rd place: New Zealand Barista Champion Carl Sara

2nd place: United States Barista Champion Heather Perry

2007 WORLD BARISTA CHAMPION IS: United Kingdom Barista Champion James Hoffmann!!!!!


Wednesday, August 1, 2007


For more information about the WBC.

Peter Deprez in action


WBC Finalists.

Switzerland - Anna Kaeppeli

Brazil - Sylvia Magalhaes

United States - Heather Perry

New Zealand - Carl Sara

United Kingdom - James Hoffmann, yes he did it.

Japan - Miyuki Miyamae

Curious for tomorrow's comp. A lot of female champions!!