Friday, February 15, 2008

Coffee Fest/Millrock/MARBC: Day 1

Day one of Coffee Fest seemed more like a couple or three days in one. M'lissa (read her accounts of our weekend here) and i walked to the convention center from our hotel, which was a Holiday Inn close to Union Station. It's actually really nice. Top notch. M'lissa and i both slept very well. Tony (beloved boss) however, who's 2 floors below us.... not so much. Anyways, we get the convention center really early (about 8:45) because we wanted to watch the Millrock Latte Art Championship. For those who don't know, this is a latte art competition (purely visual, taste does not matter) and the top prize this go around is $5,000!!! Tony and i had tried to register me for it, but we did so the day the application was due, and we didn't hear back, so we thought i didn't make it in.

Before i go any further, i think it's important to note that Octane's very own coffee boss, M'lissa Muckerman, my barista coach/dear friend/co-worker, is on this month's issue of Barista Magazine. It's hard to stress how awesome this is. Let's just say Heather Perry (two time USBC champion, 2nd at last years WBC, coffee
celebrity) pointed out that she's only ever been on "the ass of Barista Magazine", never the cover.... If Heather Perry thinks it's a big deal, it is.

The reason this is important is because there are literally HUNDREDS of this month's Barista Magazine being given away, and M'lissa is having to mentally prepare herself to be stopped by a lot of people this weekend saying, "Wait, that's the girl on the cover of Barista Magazine!" "Will you sign this mine for me?" "Can i take a picture with you?" and also for her friends to come up and congratulate her/embarrass her.

We're at the convention center pretty early, around 8:30 in the morning, because Millrock starts at 9. We're saying hi to people we know, M'lissa is introducing me to some awesome people (shout out to Sarah Allen, editor and co-founder of Barista Magazine, who's going to hook me up with some contact info for some shop owners in Helsinki) and then we sit down and get ready to watch people rock some latte art. They're about to get started and all of a sudden Sarah (one of the judges of Millrock) calls me over. I come over, and i find out they had me on for
today......... yeah. Crazy. I proceeded to stutter my way through a statement of acceptance, and then went to sit back down with M'lissa.

There was impressive art poured, including the above done by Phoebe from Gimme! which was a heart with an arrow through it for Valentine's Day. Pretty bad ass.

I went through the almost the entire morning not knowing exactly when i was going on. It kind of worked out well though, because i was completely relaxed, and didn't stress too much about how i would do. All of a sudden, within 5 minutes of not knowing when i'm going on, i'm pouring some latte art. Earlier, when i had been nervous about whether or not i actually wanted to do it, i realized i didn't bring a tamp with me. M'lissa, not wanting me to miss this opportunity, gave me the great honor of letting me break in the tamp she was holding on the cover of Barista Magazine.

That is correct. Let it sink in....... the above tamp, which was custom made with Louis Vuitton fabric by one of Octane's most beloved regulars, Curt, was broken in by me. The Louis Vuitton tamp on the cover of Barista Magazine being held by my barista coach/dear friend/co-worker, M'lissa Muckerman, i used for Millrock. I used it first. Forgive my excitement, i just think it freaking rules.

To cut to the chase, i choked a little bit, and only got out one decent pour, but somehow it was enough to propel me into second place! So after day 1, i'm in second.

My pour, which you might be able to see better on if you click on the above picture, is second in from the top left corner. I think i can do better if i make it to finals, which i'll find out if i made in about three hours. There's 20 people today, so as long as 8 people don't do better than me, i'm in.

I need to run, but i'll post on the rest of Day 1, and some a Day 2 later on tonight.

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