Anne’s distorted view of the NERBC
Ok, ok, it’s time for the the 11th best northeast regional barista of the world in 2008 to blog! So here I am, back, perhaps still a little hung over from the fun times on Saturday night. But I’ll get to that.
For legit coverage of the event, I’d definitely recommend twitchy.org, because I’m probably not much use for coverage itself. I made it a point to mostly disregard everyone else’s presentations.
We rode up to Ithaca with Katie from counter culture, who definitely kept us entertained and fed us her
borscht beet salad signature drink. We picked out her music and enjoyed the beautiful upstate countryside.
Because the competition was in Ithaca, it had an added bonus for Neil and I: it is very close to where our dear friend Bo lives. So he welcomed us into town with milk and beer, and continued to assist us throughout the weekend.
Friday was a whirlwind day of back and forth stress to not stress. I was competing 22nd, but I helped out Katie with her backstage prep, and kept checking out other competitor’s glassware. I also was sharing a room with Justin Tiesl, so Liz’s famed Wisconsin crew kept storming through in much the same way my crew stormed through their space. Justin had some really intense square martini glasses – but as I said, I have no idea what he put in them. A cup of coffee, I would imagine.
As far as anne’s competition, I really don’t know exactly what happened. I made all my drinks, I gave them all to the judges, miraculously without spilling them. I talked about family, and gave them a drink for each kind: immediate, local, global. I was 23 seconds over time. I had a pink tamper? Basically all the advice about a first time competition came true, and considering that I’d never ended up practicing in front of a real audience (besides Neil), I think I did ok.
So I’ve officially survived my first barista competition. It definitely could have been better, and it definitely could have been worse. I’m glad I finally did it, and one day when I feel the need for that much adrenaline, stress, and exhaustion, I’ll do it again. For now, I’m glad to say I did it and I’m happy to be returning to reality. I definitely learned some things, one of which being that once you hit that button it’s really like going down the rabbit hole. Probably the most surreal 15 minutes of my entire life.
But anyway, the reward for myself if I didn’t make it to finals? Getting on-the-floor-drunk with Bo. We took it easy on Friday night, with only midly belligerent intoxication at the barista party. Instead I talked to Jay and Ed from Grumpy, hugged Jenni from Gimme, perhaps the nicest bear attack in the world, talked to my judges about the competition (oy, but thanks to all of you!), played some pinball and went to bed. Oh, also Amber “I’m a stone cold” Fox was sleeping with us, and it’s always nice to see Canada. I can’t wait until she’s in New York full time.
Saturday morning Neil and I went over to watch the finalists, and I was really happy with all the performances. Hopefully all the coffee tasted good too. So big congrats to Amber, Brooklyn represent! And did I mention our passenger is now the third best 2008 northeast regional barista of the world? That’s pretty good. Also, please now check out how Amber lines up her cups:
Then we frantically loaded our crap and Katie’s crap into the car, went to the judges meeting, where I found out my score – 456. I am definitely content with my score, and feel it was fair. This shit is hard to do, yo!
Then it was search for food time. We tried to go to Moosewoood, but it was closed, of course, and we ended up at the same Thai place we went to last year when Moosewood was closed!
Later we headed to the gimme! afterparty at State St., which was probably the best barista party I have ever been to. Nice and subdued, with plenty of good beer to drink and food to eat, and no latte art throwdown or other such nonsense around the espresso machine. Although I did hear that a conversation about preinfusion got a little unweildy.
Anyway, after doing the rounds at the party, Bo and I started my mission: on the floor drunk. We walked to the delicious cocktail bar next door, and hilarity ensued. I met Erin McCarthy, NERBC organizer extraordinare, as well as Colleen, the mastermind behind the Tamper Dance, which – Colleen, I’m not impressed – I can’t seem to find on the internet anywhere. Instead I will link to the How to Replace Paper Towels instructional video on Barista Exchange, at least until Colleen rectifies the situation.
However, Colleen is certainly worth blogging about because not only is she a nice girl, not only is she a post-colonial literature scholar, and not only is she a fab gimme barista (actually I’ve never had her coffee, but I would assume so), she’s ALSO A BARTENDER. At that bar! And so, of course, hilarity ensued. There were shots of tequila. There was a lot of shaking of cocktail mixers. Apparently I wrote on Bo’s face in permanent marker, and I have no recollection of it whatsoever. I met Thomas, gimme’s technical mastermind who’s just as awesome as everyone says he is. Bo’s friend Bendi and I talked a lot about chicken, among other much more inappropriate things for a first time social interaction. Good times! Also, the camera was left at the hotel, which was probably for the best.
I spent the next day in Ithaca and Geneva, nursing a big time hangover. Finally it was time to return to the real world of work, but not before a stop to pet a cow! Which, of course, is worthy of its own, much more well written post.