Thursday, September 13, 2007

Championship practice : The Cappuccino's

This is my first article about our road to the championship finals.

At the end of November, Flanders Expo Gent is hosting this lands best Barista's. One of them is Bird, and i'm training him, as good as i can.

For me there are a couple of very important things to train.

First the blending. In our case it's done by me. As you all know i'm constantly on the lookout for some good beans, perfect roasts and tasty blends. We still don't know yet what it's going to be, but with dozens of new beans arrived at Hopland this week we soon find out which one to use.

Second we have the presentation. Bird is verbally good, but doing this presentation, wired in front of a professional jury, camera and audience, it's a different ball game. I think we have a good idea about the lines now and he's ready to start rehearsing these as often as possible.

Third the clean shots : 4 Espresso's. We talk about that next time.

Fourth the signature drink. We talk about that after next time.

But for today : The cappuccino's, il cappuccini.

Last years finals i was the only one with a full latte art attempt. Because the competition tables are very low and my own table very high, i decided to train myself the free poor. I saw James doing it in Bern and gave it a go.
Because my hands were too shaky i ran into trouble. As you can see on the photo, a lot of spoiled milk and half finished patterns. Even more : i surely lost the title there. A shame.
Now for Bird it is going to be a bit easier.

A guy who is used to pull a couple hundreds of rosetta's a day ....

So we went to the practicing tables last weekend with the question : shall we do it with one big 1 litre pitcher or two smaller 0,6 litre ones?
Almost everyone is getting for the second option. I saw Rose Van Asten in Bern using only one big one and that looked pretty good to me.
The advantage of one is that, with this amount of cold milk, it's less likely to stretch big bubbles.
Another advantage is the speed. One will be faster than two.
And a third one is the temperature. With two pitchers you risk the first two cappuccino's cool down.
We decided to go for one big pitcher for four cappuccino's and after two successful efforts we're confident this is a courageous but wise decision.

The result is shown on the picture above : 4 almost equal and very tasty cappuccino's!

The cups : some Walkure 6oc/18cl. The ones we use all day. Nowadays we see these competition cups getting smaller and smaller to stimulate working with more delicate and sweeter beans. I expect our blend will be strong enough to confront this amount of milk though.

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