bootcampcoffee.com: online coffee courses for professionals and enthusiasts

SCAA Barista Competition - SERBC 2005 - Page 2

Postby Abe Carmeli on Mon Sep 12, 2005 10:05 am

Thanks for that interesting post Dan. After the 2004 WBC in Seattle I posted my uninformed and highly speculative thoughts on what it takes to become a World Barista Champion. I was hoping to get a discussion going and hopefully see the full score sheet to understand what happened there. A discussion did follow, and though the judges' score sheet remained a state secret, I believe we got a better understanding of each component's weight in the final score.

Could you tell us what was the weight of each component here? Additionally, I noticed a reshuffle of places between the first and final round. With the reshuffle, also we see much higher scores for the 1,2,3 places. The same people did not perform that well in the first round. How much of it is judge dependent? I assume the judges were different in the final round.
Abe Carmeli
Abe Carmeli
Team HB
 
Posts: 834
Joined: May 08, 2005
Location: New York, NY

Postby HB on Mon Sep 12, 2005 10:23 pm

Lemuel Butler / Daily Grind Espresso
    Lem has long mid-back length hair tied neatly behind his head. He was nicely attired in dark slacks, white shirt, and a gray silk tie tucked into his shirt. He introduced himself, the coffees he would serve, and his "good morning" signature drink. The espressos were made with Counter Culture's Aficionado blend of five origins.

    Lem doses straight ahead with a quick one-stroke level, two tamps and two taps. He served his espressos in attractive porcelain cups with painted scenes on the sides. The judges were told to expect Brazils with earthy tones and the blueberry overtones of Harar. In addition to having good body for espresso, Lem commented that the earthy tones are great with cappuccinos.

    As he prepared his cappuccinos, he explained that the secret to good milk is a good vortex to smooth out bubbles. Lem poured off the top foam and jiggled the pitcher while pouring to produce a marbled surface. He noticed during the last pours that the foam was starting to fade, so he poured off only milk to a previous cup and then side-poured the remains to maximize the last of the froth. Nice save!

    Lem signature drink for those "on the go" was served on individual white square ceramic trays with upturned edges. At one corner he placed three dots of chocolate with a smaller inner dot of maple syrup. He then created a small leaf-like design by dragging a toothpick through the three syrup dots. His preparation was peppered with detailed explanations of what he was using and why he chose one approach over another. Each serving included a teaspoon of maple syrup. He uses glass because it cools the beverage (120-140F) and it shows off the layering effect between the espresso, milk, and syrup. The espresso pours along a cinnamon stick directly from the portafilter. Lem explained that the Papua New Guinea is spicy and the cinnamon stick exploits it by adding its own natural sweetness. The maple syrup "kicks it up a notch" . His commentary was engaging. Final time was 14:45.

Lena Abed / Open Eye Cafe
    Lena spread out a pale green tablecloth. Lebanese violin background music established an ethnic theme that was repeated in her performance. In addition to serving the traditional water, she presented a small tray of baklava to compliment the setting, plus ladyfingers and pistachios. She began by explaining a little about her coffee, a three bean blend grown in three different regions and roasted separately. Lena wore dark clothes with a collarless shirt with her dark hair drawn back in a bun.

    Her distribution technique was a brief North-South sweep followed by three (or four) tamps, the last two (or three) with twists. Although video coverage colors were only fair, the set of espressos appeared to have nice dark colors with red reflections. As she prepared her four cappuccinos, she explained that she intentionally overfilled the milk to help keep the temperature down and prolong the stretching phase. Like a few other competitors, she prefers to swirl the two bell-shaped pitchers flat against the countertop, plus a few thunks. She explained that her competition style isn't like her usual work routine because four single cappuccinos isn't a typical order. She mentioned how she really liked the steam capacity.

    It is very difficult to judge how a competitor is performing from the stands, even with the help of a video feed for close-ups. For example, looking at the pours of her cappuccinos, she appeared to come up short on foam, but the video close-ups of two judges evaluating the drinks looked correct and very nicely textured.

    In keeping with her Middle Eastern theme, she named her signature drink after the first coffee shop in Turkey established in 1475, Kiva Han. It includes half-n-half, lemon zest, touch of cardamom, and sweetened condensed milk. It is served warm but not hot. For the steaming of the milk, she switched to straight-sided Alessi-style pitchers. The drink is finished with some cinnamon on top to balance the cardamom and lemon; she explained that it has a clean finish and citrus notes. Final time was 14:16.

    Technical notes: Missed flush prior to brewing in some cases. Drew water from group to preheat cups. Set portafilter on top of group. Not drying portafilter consistently. Distribution technique wasn't consistent (sometimes NSEW, sometimes NS).

Ryan Goodrow / Murky coffee
    Tall, bearded, wearing white shirt and black pants. Before the competition he wore a towel headband, looking the role of the "ninja barista". Once the clock started, he introduced himself and spread out a rust colored tablecloth before the judges and offered a choice of sparkling or still water. The background music was gentle jazzy guitar.

    The stage area was cool and some baristas like Ryan compensated by preheating cups under a cloth atop the machine instead of using steam boiler water. Doses hard left and hard right, then center. Ryan employs the Stockfleths move, two tamps and taps with glancing blows on the side of the portafilter between them. The first pours looked slow and gloppy. Colors aren't well represented on the video feed, but the espresso stream looked good and coloring from a sensory judge's spoon looked excellent.

    For his cappuccinos, Ryan used straight side pitchers with pointed spout and poured latte art. He also likes the "table spin and thunk" for finishing the milk. The second set of cappuccinos looked like they could be low on foam, but again it is hard to judge from the audience. The texture and Toscano's crema coloring showed nicely.

    Ryan began his signature drink service by filling a thin, water drop shaped glass with orange syrup and sparkling water. He used a "booster" to reduce fall of the espresso, saying it would help keep temperature. The drink is served cold by taking the espresso in tall shot glass and adding it to the larger orange syrup glass. An attractive "beer foam" rise appeared as the espresso was added. Peter commented on how nice it looked and asked where the idea came from. Ryan's drink was inspired by a Washington Post food column; he said it was challenging working with the zest. Final time was 14:45.

    Technical notes: Ryan projected his voice better in the final round, but he sometimes mumbled. Lots of rattling of the portafilter when dosing; tapped on the doser edge. Visible splatter on espresso cup and dribble on side.
Dan Kehn
User avatar
HB
 
Posts: 14468
Joined: Apr 29, 2005
Location: Cary, NC
cafedemitasse.com | Little Tokyo - Coffee, Espresso, Teas, Chocolates
cafedemitasse.com | Little Tokyo - Coffee, Espresso, Teas, Chocolates

Postby HB on Mon Sep 12, 2005 11:17 pm

Abe Carmeli wrote:Could you tell us what was the weight of each component here?

All the rules and score sheets are available on the SCAA's website (all). Below are the ones that apply to scoring:
And also:
Additionally, I noticed a reshuffle of places between the first and final round. With the reshuffle, also we see much higher scores for the 1,2,3 places. The same people did not perform that well in the first round. How much of it is judge dependent? I assume the judges were different in the final round.

Some but not all of the judges in the first round were the same as the final round (of course they choose the most experienced judges, so I watched the finals from the stands).

The head judge is responsible for assuring there isn't excessive variation among judges; they check everyone's scores between performances and will challenge anything that looks out of line. As for the first versus final round scores, I attribute a lot more to simple variations in performances. During the competitor debriefing, head judge Jeff Taylor commented that competitors who specifically call out subtle aspects to the judges of what they should taste are taking a big risk. If the shots are good and the detailed description is precisely "as advertised", they earn points on the taste portion (Part I) as well as the evaluation portion (Part IV). According to the final round judges I spoke with later, in Lem's case, he did just that in the final round.
Dan Kehn
User avatar
HB
 
Posts: 14468
Joined: Apr 29, 2005
Location: Cary, NC

Postby e61brewski on Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:52 am

fascinating stuff, dan. nothing like getting actual informed observations. your technical notes make a lot of sense, and help me understand quite a lot about the eventual placement of some baristi.

btw, dan kehn's judge face was remarkably stern and intense, people ... not the guy we know here.

i fake live-blogged many of the contestants as a mere junkie/spectator (meaning i wrote as i watched but had to post later, for the lack of wi-fi on the COLLEGE CAMPUS) and have posted some video clips this morning. forgive the snark. i didn't get lem on tape, unfortunately. he was smooth.
http://www.ben.szobody.com/blog/
LMWDP #044
ben.szobody.com
e61brewski
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Location: greenville, sc

Postby HB on Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:11 pm

Mandy Catron / Murky Coffee
    She introduced herself and laid down a full length white table cloth and white linen napkins. The judges were offered a choice of still or sparkling water. Mandy wore a white dress shirt with dark pants and blue apron; the yellow flower in her hair matched the flower in the vase on the table.

    Mandy explained her presentation while preparing her drinks. The music was her favorite music by Van Morrison. She says it puts her in a good mood when opening the store at 6:30am. She rotates the portafilter three times while dosing and taps gently. Her first round of drinks were cappuccinos poured from two narrowed straight-sided pitchers. Nice hearts.

    The baskets appeared very heavily dosed and the lock-in was tight for the espressos. Some competitors tamp directly on the countertop atop a towel, but Mandy and several others tamped with the portafilter spout ledge held firmly on the countertop edge. Rather than knocking the portafilter to dislodge grinds on the side of the basket, she would give the portafilter a quick twirl before locking it in the group.

    She explained that her blend was Counter Culture Coffee's Toscano, a complex flavored espresso with bitter sweet chocolates (Brazils, Sumatra, Sulawesi). The crema color looked good in the video close-ups. Mandy mentioned the importance of hustling out the second set of espressos since the crema will break up if the drinks sit.

    After serving her cappuccinos and espressos, Mandy paused to share the Greek myth of the boy named Perdix being thrown to his death by his angry uncle Daedalus. Before plummeting to his demise, the goddess Athena spared the boy by turning him into a partridge so he could fly away safely. While Mandy retold the story, she placed silver pear-shaped trays on the table, recalling the symbol of Athena, the sacred pear tree. The signature drink Mandy prepared would be a tribute to this tale with its ginger-pear flavors and perhaps recollections of a moment of divine intervention. She instructed the judges to sip initially without stirring to take in the clouds of milk and the earthy espresso favor; it would finish with sharp ginger-pear flavor. Finally, stir and taste the complexity.

    She served her signature drink in glass demitasses, which highlighted the very attractive laying. A splotch of coconut milk (?) contrasted nicely with the surrounding brown crema. Her final time was 14:42.

    Technical notes: Mandy's skills are precise and consistent. Seen from the stands, her technique was impeccable.

Elizabeth Grey / Muddy Waters
    Beth wore a pale yellow elbow-length shirt and cheery red apron that matched the red three-quarter length tablecloth. Yellow napkins, short water glasses, and paper Counter Culture Coffee cups for discards (a nod to her roaster). The crowded chuckled as she placed a "Wonder Woman" doll on the table as decor. The La Marzocco also sported a large Wonder Woman refrigerator magnet. Peter often asked how long the competitor had been a barista. Beth replied four years, and she loves her fun job. Espresso with caramel sauce and a dab of cream is her favorite.

    Most baristas in the competition would rotate the portafilter while dosing, but Beth held it straight out, followed by a very quick NS leveling and twirled the portafilter instead of knocking with the tamper. Although the rules don't allow for serving it in the espresso, she provided vanilla powder to the side of the cup because she likes it that way.

    She began her cappuccinos by pulling down the warmed cups from under a dry towel on top of the machine. She used only one straight-sided pitcher. The goal is to froth milk to a shiny chrome finish and not waste milk. Frothed all milk before beginning the second set. After a few gentle thunks, she poured all four drinks in stages. That is, Beth pours the creamy top layer to partially fill all four, then pours only milk where necessary to reach near the final volume, then uses the remains to finish any that are short on foam.

    Beth came up with the idea of the Wonder Woman signature drink not because she's a feminist, but because she believes the character is a good role model. The ingredients for this drink hail back to the Amazon: Banana, coconut milk, half-n-half, served chilled with a garnish rim of unsweetened coconut flakes, coconut powder, and raw sugar. She explained the banana flavor and coconut are from Amazon and South American influences respectively.

    The drink was served in a fluted glass with garnish rim atop a squared serving tray with earth tone finish. She mixed the ingredients of banana syrup and half-n-half infusion with espresso in a shaker and topped with frothed milk. Dried coconut were included in the side for their aromatics and banana chips as an after-drink snack. Beth called time at 14:43.

    Technical notes: Many baristas forgot to refill water glasses, but not Beth.


Claudia Raymo-Quirk / Cup-A-Joe
    Claudia spread out a baby blue full length tablecloth and served water from a small ornate golden tray. The crowd applauded when she replied to Peter that she has been working as a barista for eight years. She wore a dark skirt with embroidered wide trim and tied back her dark hair. Her music selection came from the Godfather.

    Claudia favors a heavy solid stainless steel tamper--and she made unexpectedly frequent use of it. She tapped the portafilter mid-way while dosing, used quick two swipes to distribute, followed by two light tamps with two taps in between with a practiced fluid motion. She explained her espresso was composed of two blends roasted together and two mixed post-roast. The demitasses had the Cimbali logo and a gold rim; she mentioned that the ornate spoons were her grandmother's from Italy.

    Things went awry during her preparation of the cappuccinos. She used the same steaming approach as the two preceding baristas, steaming in one big flared pitcher (not bell shaped). The first set of shots looked to be well short and she decide to chuck them. She moved the cups to the top of the machine and started the next pair, which also choked. While I felt for her situation, I admire that she didn't freeze. After mere seconds of seeing the pour was too slow, she dumped and reloaded the portafilter. Was that three or four times, I've lost count?!? She was running out of cups so she rinsed previously failed extractions and put them on top of the machine. Time was 10:05 before she returned to the steamed milk that had sat during the failed attempts; she hesitated as she checked the temperature of the pitcher's sides, but decided to pour anyway. Near whiteouts were visible from a distance since there was not enough foam. She returned to steam more milk, spending a total of approximately six minutes on the cappuccinos.

    The clock read 11:58 when Claudia started her signature drinks. She served them in delicate gold-rimmed martini glasses with light pink whipped cream. Her chilled drinks were served tableside from a shaker. Despite the technical troubles Claudia encountered during her performance, she was outwardly calm and maintained an absolute focus on the task before her. Very graceful under pressure. Final time was 15:28.

    Technical notes: Flush a tad short prior to lock-in. Some side splatter on cups. Quite a bit of visible variation from one cappuccino to another. Shorted the signature drink of the last judge.
Dan Kehn
User avatar
HB
 
Posts: 14468
Joined: Apr 29, 2005
Location: Cary, NC

Postby HB on Thu Sep 15, 2005 10:43 pm

e61brewski wrote:your technical notes make a lot of sense, and help me understand quite a lot about the eventual placement of some baristi.

Thanks Ben, I've been reading your blog entries on the competition and appreciate the kudos.

I had a good time and look forward to the competition in Charlotte. Over the next few days I would like to post some of my competitor debriefing notes. That's where judges meet with the baristas after the competition to cover their score sheets, if they wish. Most of my comments were pretty mundane, some were vaguely amusing, and others were a bit surprising. I don't know that any current or future competitors will read them, but I hope the HB readership will find them interesting.
Dan Kehn
User avatar
HB
 
Posts: 14468
Joined: Apr 29, 2005
Location: Cary, NC

Postby HB on Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:13 am

I offered my write-up to Mark at CoffeeGeek and he published it with a huge whack of pictures in SERBC Barista Competition 2005. Thanks Mark!

PS: He was too tired to accept more photographs, so I posted a few in the article's feedback thread. For those who can't get enough, even more pictures follow...
Dan Kehn
User avatar
HB
 
Posts: 14468
Joined: Apr 29, 2005
Location: Cary, NC

Postby HB on Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:54 pm

My brother-in-law is a photographer and offered to snap a few shots at the SERBC. Since his time was very limited, he decided to go for a more artistic edge than documentary style. Enjoy...


Note: These images are copyright of Michael Back Photography. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or redistribute these photographs!




Image

Lem Butler watches the pour closely before stopping the extraction



Image

Emcee Peter Giuliano answers questions from the audience as Cedric Station performs



Image

Sensory judge Marcus Boni samples the cappuccino prepared by Stephanie Britt



Image
Stephanie Britt checks the clock as the last minute of her performance approaches (see reflection)



Image

Sensory judge's view of the competition



Image
A pour that didn't go as planned
Dan Kehn
User avatar
HB
 
Posts: 14468
Joined: Apr 29, 2005
Location: Cary, NC

Postby HB on Sat Sep 24, 2005 11:28 pm

(Competitor debriefing discussion split to another thread by moderator...)
Dan Kehn
User avatar
HB
 
Posts: 14468
Joined: Apr 29, 2005
Location: Cary, NC