Barista Competitions; Who Gives a Sh** - Page 13

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
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Compass Coffee
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Postby Compass Coffee » Oct 19, 2006, 9:36 am

HB wrote:The number of board members means very little, it's sustained contributors that defines a site

Do you mean HB users have posted a total of 20733 articles versus SCAA users have posted a total of 291 articles? :wink:
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
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Omniryx

Postby Omniryx » Oct 24, 2006, 3:46 pm

Once the S/N ratio got down to something reasonable, this turned out to be a really helpful discussion. I'm grateful, as a learner, that my comments were taken seriously and that so many knowledgable people took the time to respond to my concerns in depth and with some background information that was most informative. A couple of closing comments:

As noted in one of my earlier posts, paying considerable attention to the needs and wants of the spectators doesn't seem to lower the quality of the competitions at Wimbledon or the PGA or even at world-class piano competitions or chess tournaments. I cannot see why one would assume that such attention would degrade the quality of barista comps, either.

I do think that the judges, competitors, and "big names" create an environment in which the rest of the world is made to feel like outsiders--and not even particularly welcome outsiders. I doubt that this is deliberate or even conscious. As Burns said, "O wad some Power the giftie gie us / To see oursels as ithers see us!"

Finally, I regret to say that I'm just not convinced by the arguments about the calibration scoring system. Not that my disagreement is going to ruin anyone's day... Other competitions of much greater moment (the Olympics, for example) manage to cope with "Russian judge syndrome" and the other interesting phenomena that come along with a fully independent scoring system. If head judges are having that much trouble with outlier scores, perhaps the answer is additional training or higher credentialing standards rather than "let's all sit down and get together on this."

Thanks again for engaging my concerns. Best of luck to all you competitors, judges, and organizers.

Will
The human capacity for self delusion is nearly boundless.

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HB
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Postby HB » Oct 24, 2006, 8:46 pm

Omniryx wrote:Finally, I regret to say that I'm just not convinced by the arguments about the calibration scoring system.

Not to belabor the point, but the so-called calibration is really about catching errors before it reaches the official scorekeepers. There are 25 fields to fill out on the sensory score sheet and nobody can do it all while the competitor is presenting. So the majority of the time "behind the curtain" is (a) filling out the fields you didn't finish, (b) confirming that the scores are written legibly, and (c) writing comments to support your scores, should the competitor ask during debriefing. I've never witnessed any back-and-forth between judges with respect to their individual scores. The head judge does however insist that yes/no questions are consistent. For example, if he/she saw the competitor put down all accessories for the round of espressos and one judge forgot to check "yes" (or worse yet... checked "no"), they will ask that it be changed.

The SCAA isn't a big-budget organization, but after thinking about this for several months, I agree it would be cool to have immediate computer-tallied scoring after each competitor shown to the audience before the next competitor starts. A few sanity checks in the software would catch any inconsistencies and eliminate the need for "judges' consultations" backstage.

Omniryx wrote:If head judges are having that much trouble with outlier scores, perhaps the answer is additional training or higher credentialing standards rather than "let's all sit down and get together on this."


The scores in the last USBC were very consistent from judge-to-judge during the mock competitions for the same drink. During the competition, the scores tend to align in pairs between the first and second sets of four. It's true that the regionals have more first time judges and the head judge shadows them closely. Not that I mind at all; Marcus Boni from Intelligentsia was head judge during my rounds at last year's SERBC and I offered him the cup if he was at my end of the table.
Dan Kehn

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Marshall

Postby Marshall » Oct 25, 2006, 12:11 am

Compass Coffee wrote:Do you mean HB users have posted a total of 20733 articles versus SCAA users have posted a total of 291 articles? :wink:



No. The SCAA boards used to be much more active, but weren't well protected. Someone hijacked the boards a year or two ago. SCAA shut them down and then, much later, migrated them to new servers, where they were restarted from scratch. Meanwhile, other boards sprang up to fill the gap. There are thousands (I think) of lost posts from the old SCAA boards.
Marshall
Los Angeles

dankbean

Postby dankbean » Oct 25, 2006, 8:58 am

HB said:
I've never witnessed any back-and-forth between judges with respect to their individual scores.

quite right, neither have I. The only time I even asked another sensory judge their score was the Yes/No in regard to their espresso and cappuccino cups, and whether or not they met competition guidelines. The drink scores I kept to myself, and most time backstage was spent furiously scribbling notes for the competitors.

HB said:
The SCAA isn't a big-budget organization, but after thinking about this for several months, I agree it would be cool to have immediate computer-tallied scoring after each competitor shown to the audience before the next competitor starts. A few sanity checks in the software would catch any inconsistencies and eliminate the need for "judges' consultations" backstage.

just as long as the software used is not the same company that produced the timers. :wink: at the opening of the SERBC, it was a little awkward!



Marshall said:
Meanwhile, other boards sprang up to fill the gap. There are thousands (I think) of lost posts from the old SCAA boards.



again, quite right. I'm definitely not saddened by the fact that there are at least half a dozen active forums (and Lord only knows how many blogs) to visit everyday. and my neurosis for needing to have printed copies of every interesting article i find is finally paying off. 8) my lament is only that we are actively holding a discussion about the improvement of SCAA events, but not on the SCAA forum. as it has been pointed out before, emails and forums are not the most effective way of reaching the powers-that-be in the SCAA: i just hope this discussion eventually reaches their ears....and the improvements are considered/made.

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Trisha

Postby Trisha » Nov 17, 2006, 7:02 pm

From near the end of one of the last roads headed into the mountains at the feet of the Continental Divide, and no little ways past the end of the pavement:

There's a delight in being adrift in an upward thermal in that 98%. I'll use an analogy from another study that occupies a substantial investment in resources both fiscal and chronological - competition pistol, AKA IDPA.

The experts, repeatedly challenged and frequently triumphant stimulate the industry, and albeit it to markedly varying degrees of progress, incite renewal in everything from casual matches to Grand Nationals - and manufacturers on all levels pay attention to both the competitors as well as the audience. The bar is raised, and has yet to retreat.

Coffee, as Mark Prince relates, can and should by rights rise above being a condiment beverage. From my perspective, it has begun that journey and the business as a whole, to obvious degrees of involvement, is participating. The developing arenas of formalized competitions are coming into focus, finding their feet and learning as they go, reaching an ever-increasing market in growers, buyers, equipment manufacturers, and consumers from every level from the starving student to the remarkably discretionary funded, and the commercial. I wince at only finding the concept of "trickle-down" as the mechanics in play, but the rising tide of discipline, information, independent effort, passion, clinical research and the resultant cup can't be ignored.

It's succeeding. There is a certainty that this is in its collective infancy (wine has been around a very long time, but it's a little easier to be patient about growing the collective consciousness and standard after a bottle or two of an estate Tuscany, eh?), but the achievements of the top baristas are shattering the glass ceiling with ordinary folks rousing themselves and finding real pleasure in a good cup of coffee, folks who may resist bovine complacency in their future choices.

And from little rebellions against the mundane, passion begins and the status quo of mediocrity trembles.

My thought is that, to date, there is a debt of thanks for those who've persevered. Everything about my sourced education and ongoing experiences and experimentation with roasting, grinding and brewing has seen basis on diverse, even second-order consequential foundations their labors and commitment laid before me.

Collectively, this will be a fascinating journey of discovery and discourse; and the cup should only improve!

(btw, those of us in EMS view radiologist types as typically somewhat militant - in this case, it's proven true! ;) )
LMWDP# 95
. . . and cello sonatas flow through the air. . .