This autumn has been a living hell for me, for various reasons. so focusing on work and competition has been kind of therapeutic. I’ve had an idea for competition since last summer, but due to my situation, finances was scarce. But I got the advice to go up there and just change side of the judges table to get in the feeling what it’s like. So I did.
The coffee I was using was a Colombian washed caturra from Tarqui, in the Huila region. Producer Nemesio Ramos had the winning lot in a local competition that Nordic Approach organized, and Da Matteo bought it and roasted it to perfection. The cup notes I got was tropical fruit (mango, apricot) sweetness, with a hint of mineral saltiness, and milk chocolate finish. In the aroma, there was sandalwood and wet leather.
A lot of the preparations were about water, and we found that medium hard water brought out all we wanted, but hard water turned it into a chocolate bomb but muted all other flavors. So we opted for Imsdal water (small bottle). We tried both the kalita and the V60 but found the V60, with a course grind, brought out the best and safest cup!
My goal was to compete. And in the first round I went so well I made it to the finals! And then something happened. I started overpreparing my speech mentally. I got nervous. I was reminded that one of my best friends was buried that day and here I was, playing coffee. It all went to shits. In my presentation I forgot to talk about crucial information about the coffee. I could see the head judge was confused about my performance. I knew when I walked off stage, I was fucked. Still, ended up fifth out of six finalists.
I guess I should be happy I did what I had set out to do – compete. Going to the finals was a bonus. And there were lots of lessons learnt that day. Competing as a team is crucial! We lost a staff member at work, so my coach, boss and friend Joel had to take all his shifts, leaving me alone at the mercy of my fellow competitors for help. Especially Robin of Drop Coffee was of great help! And Kim Staalman of SCA became my barista buddy on the day, so I was in loving care from friends. Truly appreciated!
Next year I hope for a comeback, doing the routine I initially have been planning for a long time now!
NP: The Accidents Afterburner