Tuesday, December 2, 2008

BBC 2008 Practicing

3 more days. Everybody starts to feel the nerves coming up?

There are a lot of questions to ask before you start your training for such a championship. Actually you need to thinks over strategies months upfront.
In the summer we - Katrien, Jessie and me - had a first meeting. Just planning and motivation.
In October we were sitting down to talk tactics. Since they were not familiar with Barista comps the talking was to me.
Next questions were asked :
What blend to use?
What's going to be the order of drink preparations? Espresso's or capps first?
Simul Spro or not?
Latte art?
What pitchers to use?
Milk type....?
What cups to use?
Idea's about signature drinks?
What's going to be general style?
How introducing myself?
When do we start rehearsing?

We started quiet late in October. I did two run troughs to show them a bit how you structure a 15 minute presentation.
You have your intro : much more important then many may think.
You start pulling shots of course and before you know you're standing there again at the judges table handing over your final drinks before waving goodbye.

The girls were very fanatic during my Ethiopia trip and I was happy to see them having most things in hand one month before the championship.
Jessie did two run troughs. No major things to point at. What a relieve.
Then Katrien. The thing with her is that she is very easy to program. It's almost like a robot. You type in what you want and it comes out. Her second run trough was very close to what I expect at the final day of countdown.
Well done. I directly gave them two weeks of 'holiday' to not burn them. It's like Detlev - our current champion - always says : "Doing Barista competitions is like top sport".

Then time to rehearse again and again and the last week to finish things of.
Sunday evening four run troughs with Katrien. This time with full presentation. The looks of the judges tables. The music. The 15 minute preparation time rehearsal etc...
Around midnight things were over. She's ready. Of course there are always small mistakes. Even the world champion makes mistakes. Isn't it Stephen? But for me it's most about how it feels. And are the extractions ok? And rhythm and timing? Consistant way of working? Yes they were. Congrats Kat!

Monday evening me and Jessie were ready for the same kind of session.
When you see her behind the bar it looks like it's all very easy. Her style is very calm and natural ; like breathing for non ashmatics. The Cappuccino's were the best I ever tasted in my own bar and the tables at the end looked totally not as if she just prepares 12 fantastic drinks in 14 minutes. Spic and Span. Like it should be.

I'm a happy man. People like these two girls are hard to find. They're gifted and fanatic.
Thursday one more session to keep the shape and friday Gent. Exciting.

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