USBC FINALS

barista competitions, trade shows, jams, tastings

Postby xristrettox on Mon May 07, 2007 7:53 pm

bz wrote:
Jon Lewis was in 7th place by 5 points. (semi-finals)


shoulda challenged. something. :twisted:


The problem with that is, Jon did not know he was 7th until after the competition was over. It would have been impossible for him to challenge a score, as those were not made available. This does present an intersting issue, especially if there had been an error somewhere.
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Postby bz on Mon May 07, 2007 8:33 pm

Jon did not know he was 7th until after the competition was over. It would have been impossible for him to challenge a score, as those were not made available. This does present an intersting issue, especially if there had been an error somewhere.


i take it this is among the rule changes? possibly as a result of last year's seven-man final?
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Postby Mark Prince on Mon May 07, 2007 10:49 pm

I honestly don't think it would be in Jon's style to challenge, except maybe in the most extreme of circumstances.

Congrats to Heather, the only two time, two time, TWO TIME USBC champion!

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Postby bz on Tue May 08, 2007 8:18 am

was kidding about jon. a lame reference to controversies of yesteryear.

meanwhile, we're sitting here noon tuesday, and even those who were IN LONG BEACH are looking for something, anything to sink their teeth into.

consider:

* the barista mag people live-blogged last year's nordic barista cup with photos, eyewitness accounts, etc. four days after this year's u.s. bash began, though, we still got nothing.

* cafe customers in pittsburgh want to know what happened (see above). so do devoted nerds in greenville, s.c. but, the tuesday after, still nothing.

* norwegian enthusiast gauperaa first called this problem in 2005. more than two years later, we got nuthin'.

* my blog hits have soared this week, from people googling "usbc finalists," "coffee billy wilson what happened?" and "jon lewis 2007 usbc." what they're getting is ... my summary from last year. 2006. meanwhile, it's noon on the tuesday after our head-snapping, first-ever repeat winner was named.

and still we got nothing.

what i wouldn't have given to be there with a laptop...

edit: i'm not in any way suggesting that competitors themselves should be forking over the skinny.
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Postby Colter Jones on Tue May 08, 2007 8:22 am

Congratulations Heather!!! Good luck in Tokyo!!! I sincerely hope we can both make it into the top 3 this year, just to repeat the trend of North American coffee lovers on the podium.
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Postby Kyle Glanville on Tue May 08, 2007 8:51 am

Guys it was a lot of fun and I was honored to be included in the final six. Congrats Heather on another spectacular performance! Kill it in Tokyo!
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Postby onocoffee on Tue May 08, 2007 9:40 am

Personally speaking Ben, I'm disappointed that you weren't in Long Beach.

In Charlotte, you set the bar for comprehensive USBC reporting. You provided up-to-the-minute, killer coverage of the event, including video. Historically speaking, until your arrival on the scene, updates on the USBC had been limited to sporadic postings to the BGA Board by competitors and the daily coverage on CoffeeGeek.

In other words, we need YOU to be on the ground providing coverage because there's no one else in the community with a background (or interest) in journalism.

Let's also bear in mind that while the Pittsburgh contingent wants to know what's going on, they've got a person on the ground in Long Beach. Their own competitor, Sonia Schutte. Has she gone off the map and they can't receive live info about the USBC from her? Is their barista not a phone call away?

Remember that everyone here is working in a pressurized environment where we're compressing a years' worth of activity into four days. We're not journalists and cannot be expected to provide coverage as journalists do.

What we need is for Szobody to be here bringing the same great level of reporting as in Charlotte.

Start booking your flight for Minneapolis, Ben.
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Postby Aldo1 on Tue May 08, 2007 9:58 am

sheesh, Jay. Sorry, but I was excited to ask and I was always appreciative of the posts we did get. More to say, but I'd better just pass on by.
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Postby Mark Prince on Tue May 08, 2007 10:54 am

I am a bit put off by all the whining about the lack of posts myself.

a lot goes on at this show. On top of that, these conference centers that the SCAA chooses aren't exactly state of the art when it comes to communication - they pick smaller cities and venues, and as such, you won't get the kind of service, technology speaking, that you'd get in a major market.

For instance, the only wifi I could get at the conference was some paid-for stuff, and even that was spotty. After paying 20 euros for 2 hours (and doing it several times) in Bern last year, I said no more to paying for show floor wifi.

So to get wifi to upload stuff so Ben and others would get their fix, it would require me walking probably about a half mile distance from the USBC staging area (as an example) to one of the nearby hotels. Posting stuff, then going back.

We tried to cull and post our content on CG Saturday night, but I was just too bagged myself, and needed the sleep. Sunday night, my own hotel's wifi tanked and I couldn't access the net. Monday, I simply didn't have time, but I did get info to Jim Hoffman as soon as I could knowing the Hoff would be all over the net with the early results.

That said, there's already 3000 words up on CG in the Day 1 report, and it's not written in fly by your pants, .... leading, cryptic thoughts either - it's stuff we tried to write in an informed, detailed way with matching photos. And more is coming.

The content is coming. From many sources. Have patience. From me, there's more show floor stuff than USBC, but some USBC. But I'm sure as the week progresses, you'll get your fix on videos, podcasts, and wall to wall USBC discussion.

There's also a flickr group for the 2007 conference that's been getting updates daily:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/scaa2007/

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Postby Aldo1 on Tue May 08, 2007 11:21 am

You are misinterpreting excitement and love of the game as whining. No one here that I noticed was criticizing anyone in particular, just hungry for more.
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top 12

Postby gabelucas on Tue May 08, 2007 11:40 am

by the way, Brent failed to mention that Chris Baca of Ritual Coffee Roasters was in the top 12, placing 9th. He placed 29th last year. We are all so freaking proud of this guy, he is my personal hero.

Lovin' Limmu!


congrats to Heather Perry, represent California and the US well in Tokyo!!!!! And of course, congrats to the rest of the finalists...and my Ithaca man, Chris DeFerio. Job well done!
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Postby Mark Prince on Tue May 08, 2007 12:03 pm

Aldo1 wrote:You are misinterpreting excitement and love of the game as whining. No one here that I noticed was criticizing anyone in particular, just hungry for more.


I wasn't saying anyone in particular was being criticised. It's obvious that everyone who attended who blog, post, podcast, write, whatever, are being called out ;) But I'll stick with interpreting it as a bit o' whining. How others interpret it is most likely different.

I guess my problem is reading too much of the "where's the posts! We want news!" and not enough actually writing.

Speaking for myself - I was writing, and time stamping everything I was writing. I'd find a corner, flip open the notebook, and write my thoughts about specific things. I tried a few times to do flickr updates (easier than using CG's photo engine), but it was just a mess, and I wasn't happy with the writing on the fly. So instead, I have about 40 word docs on my computer, all time stamped during the 3 days, all between 2 and 15 paragraphs, covering various aspects of the USBC, and the rest of the show. I hope to have them all online in the 3 days show reports in the next few days "as they happened" in sequence, if not in "posted live on the spot as it happened" kinda ways.

Also got a great interview with Billy and Matt behind the scenes in the barista training room, but I'm not sure how the audio will turn out - I used my little iAudio device for it and was "passing the mic" back and forth. But I hope all of Billy's "fucks" come through crystal clear. It was a fun interview. I'll listen this afternoon, and either podcast it later this week, or just put the raw mp3 online and link to the download, unedited.

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Postby Chris Baca on Tue May 08, 2007 12:15 pm

here's some juice: the middle FB 80

Friday the middle group on the second FB 80 was having some problems...it was declared a technical issue and some of the people who had this machine were allowed to opt to do their performance over again. The group was taken apart and the problem was "corrected." Saturday there were still issues with the same machine, same group. This was declared NOT a technical issue and baristas were not allowed to re-do their performance. On Sunday the same machine, same group was still having issues. This time it WAS declared to be a technical issue and competitors were allowed a second run.

So, if you had the middle machine on Saturday...you got screwed. (I must note that this did not affect me in any way, my machines were fine). I just think this is something that should be talked about so I wanted to throw it out there. My feelings go out to those on the middle machine.

Oh yeah...I had a great time. I love the people in this industry, respect to all!
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Postby bz on Tue May 08, 2007 12:22 pm

a lot goes on at this show.


a lot goes into macworld too. mark, i know that you, of all people, understand the power of online information, provided on a timely basis to coffee entusiasts the world over. that's not even worth debating.

and i'm not calling you out -- why should i attach a name to anything? you had your schedule. other writers and bloggers had theirs. all probably justifiable. there's no point in picking individual fights.

i'm speaking with more of a barack obama collective voice (:wink:) -- how is it that, given the state of awesome coffee today, "we" still can't capitalize on the drama and energy of this country's biggest coffee event of the year? the market demand has been established (thanks in part to you, mark). in that context, the usbc information void is just stunning.

jay: sheesh. that's downright embarrassing. thank you, but i don't agree.

what i did last year was NOT "journalism." the blog, in fact, has always been my cathartic way to NOT do journalism after a long day's work. the ridiculous vocab and knee-jerk opinions and endless sarcasm are all to that end. why people read is beyond me.

the charlotte experience certainly showed a market demand for coverage. but i was an outsider, who didn't introduce myself to anybody, who had access to nothing, who sat in a seat and ran a camera. it was the paltriest, goofiest, most uninformed take you could imagine.

the point: ANYone could be doing this. i would have loved to this year, and would love to next year. heck, one could even approached some real journalism in the process.

but there was to be a way. it's simply too much of a "duh" thing for excitement-spreading not to do. and in that context, lack of wi-fi isn't really an obstacle.
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Postby Mark Prince on Tue May 08, 2007 12:26 pm

Chris Baca wrote:So, if you had the middle machine on Saturday...you got screwed. (I must note that this did not affect me in any way, my machines were fine). I just think this is something that should be talked about so I wanted to throw it out there. My feelings go out to those on the middle machine.


Yeah, totally!

Of note, Heather Perry and Nick Cho were both on that middle machine on Sunday, and Nick filed a protest after his performance, and got a redo. Heather didn't. I talked to Mike Perry about this (after hearing about Nick's filing, but not the results) and asked if Heather would be doing same. He said she was very happy with her performance, and would most likely not.

I didn't pay close enough attention to the machine and how it was going during Heather's round - if she stuck to using the outer two groups, that's probably why she was okay. Word is, the middle group (on the middle machine (lol!)) was the problem - the wrong gicleur or something.

I remember seeing Katie from Murky behind the screen completely stressed out over this.

If you were a barista who relied on the middle group a lot, you were especially screwed.

I also can't 100% confirm it, but I believe after Nick's protest, the middle machine was shut down for the rest of Sunday, and they did serious testing on the far right machine to make sure it was okay too.

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Postby Mark Prince on Tue May 08, 2007 12:29 pm

bz wrote:
a lot goes on at this show.


a lot goes into macworld too. mark, i know that you, of all people, understand the power of online information, provided on a timely basis to coffee entusiasts the world over. that's not even worth debating.


Sorry for not addressing the rest of the post, but I just gotta quote this part.

Are you honestly comparing Macworld, a completely wired (wireless), geek out fest with wall to wall computers, notebooks pdas, wifi through the yazoo, to the SCAA show, esp. in terms of what people are covering, what people are showing, and how "techified" the entire space is?

Puuuuleeese. This was a *****coffee***** show. And one that didn't lend any hand to live podcasting, live blogging, live anything, really.

However, I was on a live LA radio show on Saturday morning. I was ambushed as I walked by, but it was cool!

Mark
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Postby Chris Baca on Tue May 08, 2007 12:42 pm

I also can't 100% confirm it, but I believe after Nick's protest, the middle machine was shut down for the rest of Sunday, and they did serious testing on the far right machine to make sure it was okay too.


The machine was shut down for the last part of Sun... Heather knew about the middle group problem by the time she went on and stuck with the first and third.

It's also interesting to see whose protests get taken seriously and whose get brushed aside.
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Postby bz on Tue May 08, 2007 12:43 pm

bz wrote:
Quote:
a lot goes on at this show.


a lot goes into macworld too. mark, i know that you, of all people, understand the power of online information, provided on a timely basis to coffee entusiasts the world over. that's not even worth debating.


Sorry, but I just gotta quote this part.

Are you honestly comparing Macworld, a completely wired (wireless), geek out fest with wall to wall computers, notebooks pdas, wifi through the yazoo, to the SCAA show, esp. in terms of what people are covering, what people are showing, and how "techified" the entire space is?

Puuuuleeese. This was a *****coffee***** show. And one that didn't lend any hand to live podcasting, live blogging, live anything, really.

However, I was on a live LA radio show on Saturday morning. I was ambushed as I walked by, but it was cool!


excellent point. and another example of how, in the general bubble-like ignorance of an outside world, the basic necessity of information flow isn't even considered.

MY point was not the type of show -- pick any popular, seminal annual show. where there's market demand for info and details and breaking news, no amount of "a lot goes on" stands in the way.

no, it ain't a computer show. it IS the "united states barista championship."
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Postby Aldo1 on Tue May 08, 2007 1:13 pm

I am sorry, but lol at
...
this was a *****coffee***** show. And one that didn't lend any hand to live podcasting, live blogging, live anything, really.
...


Five minutes on Google yields:

A Fancy Food Show same-day blog:

http://www.typetive.com/candyblog/category/fancyfood/


Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest LIVE blogging from Coney Island

http://www.gothamist.com/2006/07/04/post_101.php


The 2006 National Retaurant Asssociation Show live

"If you are not able to attend the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant-Hotel/Motel Show 2006 in Chicago, then you can listen to the Podcast Grill:
excerpt:
This year is a show you will not want to miss. The NRA (National Restaurant Association Show) is the largest that it has ever been! What even more awesome is that we will be live on the show floor hosting and posting our podcasts"


It is not an unrealistic consideration, hell, we may be the LAST food industry that gets it. So don't you be be dissing our enthusiasm as whining. I certainly wasn't criticizing you or anyone -- but the hope of more real time or at least same day coverage is certainly not in the same category of thought as cold fusion or time travel, for pete's sake.
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Postby bz on Tue May 08, 2007 1:31 pm

now THAT's reporting. :wink:

what she said.
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Postby Mike Paras on Tue May 08, 2007 2:16 pm

Thanks for the info on the middle machine issue. Ironic there would be issues after Nick commented on the podcast, "Hey look who all is on the middle machine."

Is this part of the reason one of the competition days ran late?

Was the actual problem with the group ever corrected?
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Postby Mark Prince on Tue May 08, 2007 2:39 pm

bz wrote:no, it ain't a computer show. it IS the "united states barista championship."


Hrm. I thought it was the Specialty Coffee Association of America's Annual Conference and Trade Show?

Mark
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Postby Mark Prince on Tue May 08, 2007 2:40 pm

Aldo1 wrote:It is not an unrealistic consideration, hell, we may be the LAST food industry that gets it. So don't you be be dissing our enthusiasm as whining. I certainly wasn't criticizing you or anyone -- but the hope of more real time or at least same day coverage is certainly not in the same category of thought as cold fusion or time travel, for pete's sake.


Well Melanie, I'll certainly be looking forward to your live by the minute blogging from Minneapolis next year then! :D

Mark
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Postby Mark Prince on Tue May 08, 2007 2:47 pm

mikep wrote:Is this part of the reason one of the competition days ran late?

Was the actual problem with the group ever corrected?


Re late comps - for sure - it was a big issue. But the comps were running late from the get go too - I remember thinking "oh so and so is on at 10am...." I'd get there, and that person wasn't on till 45 mins later.

Re problem - yes, I think it was fixed - I got so many different variants on what the problem was.

A lot of blame was kinda tossed around too.

the following is total hearsay - take it for what it's worth:

Talk to LM and it was "someone put the wrong gicleurs on there".

Talk to competitors and it was "LM has these new gicleurs that are plastic, and it's so tight a size, it couldn't deal with the initial heat issues and expansion and contraction caused them to screw up".

Talk to casual observers and they'd go "so why isn't anyone using the middle machine?"

It's not a new problem. Years ago I suggested that LM should have "competition machines" kept and seasoned and tuned for the competitions. Every year it's a new machine, with new machine problems and circumstances. The machines need breaking in, like any other high performance item. I think the one obvious thing out of all of this is that point is very valid - they weren't broken in or tested, other than on the bench at the factory. They need real world (or at least real competition) usage to become seasoned and battle tested, then things should be rock solid.

It's no big deal to swap a new body panel onto them each year. But IMO the bodies inside need to be used a bit before showing up on a competition floor.

The problem, of course is cost. Instead of loaning machines and then selling them at the show (which is how it currently works), someone would have to pay and own those machines - or the machine sponsor would have to count them as an expense, part of being a sponsor of the competition.

Mark
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Postby Marshall on Tue May 08, 2007 3:38 pm

Here's a suggestion for anyone wanting real-time (or near-real-time) USBC reporting next year. Rick Havacko is SCAA's new Director of Communications. He did a great job of getting coverage of the Conference into the general media this year.

Let him know your concerns and tell him what you would like to see happen in Minneapolis. Then volunteer to help him. Here is his contact info: rhavacko@scaa.org.
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