It was a very interesting two day event, created by the SCAE Swedish Chapter, where 12 Swedish Judges were certified to judge the Barista Competition in Sweden in 2012-2013. I had the privilege of being there, both at the workshop and tests, hosted and executed by WCE Board Member Sonja Björk Grant.
As a barista that has competed three times, and seen slight changes in the Rules&Regulation, it was interesting to sit at the other side of the table. Being presented drinks that are made with an effort and passion are hard to dismiss, yet necessary to evaluate somehow objective. This is the great challenge, to understand how to evaluate these objective. Are they judged by what we’ve seen in the competition before (in past competitions), for instance in the Creativity box?
It also became apparent that some judges had a harder criteria in their opinion on drinks that were close to their own workfield. This judging outside the box, is what is evaluated in the “judges room” (the staircase at this workshop). Also the group dynamics within the judging group was interesting to experience. Some people, you immediately seem to be judging similar to, while others are on a different page altogether. Not sure yet what my opinion is on this, since I haven’t been judging at “gun point” yet, but I am sure this have some sort on impact on the final scores.
One criteria for passing that I really enjoyed, but not sure I passed with honors, was the espresso making test. Since I’ve heard about baristi cringing at the idea of being judged by people who can’t even pull a shot, this is essential for the credibility of judging. Our “guinea pig baristi” (the volunteer baristi being judged by us as a group for two days) also got the task to judge us! Great twist!
At the end of the day, I passed the certification of which I am both happy and grateful for. I am sincerely looking forward to be experiencing the competitions and see all the fantastic baristi of Sweden in action! I know I always said that competition is a great way to learn about coffee. I have a strong feeling judging will teach me equally much!
NP: Travis Re Offender