This is all surreal in so many ways... The country, the setting, the event, the shit that's been happening...
- the other night we went on a tour of dairies. At the last one they announced that there was a surprise competition event for the teams. They had to milk a cow and then make a cappuccino out of the milk on a home machine in the dairy.
- The end of the first day, at about 9PM, we all got in some buses and drove out into the countryside where we went to a bridge that connects the two tectonic plates (North America and Europe) and had a cocktail party outdoors in the rain in the dark with dried fish and "black death" schnapps where the Mayor of the town gave a speech in the freezing cold about the geology of the area and fish.
- When we got off the plane here, we got lost in the airport trying to find a taxi and were outside in the rain (and dark and cold) and ran into Ellie and Amber from Intelligentsia). Actually, it is a very small country, and you run into people all the time.
The skill of the baristas here is incredible. Dazzling in fact.
The compeitition has been pretty amazing. Not just the skill, but the passion and committment of the companies and the individuals.
As I noted before, I don't particularly like the espresso style - but that's personal taste I guess.
Jodi brought some Hairbender and I went into the training room yesterday during the comp and pulled shots of it. You should have seen the smile on Jodi's face when she took her first sip...
My hotel is weird - but so much better than the first place. Initially we were staying out near the airport. The hotel was seriously Soviet Block. This new place (in town) is more like some sort of Danish Modern upscale youth hostel.
I've met a ton of good people. Really nice, really smart people.I've learned a bunch - and had some great discussions. I figure I've made more friends than enemies.
We've been lost every single time we've driven anywhere. But it's always worked out through some freak accident. We keep trying to follow the tour buses everyone is on - but they keep doing weird things and ditching us (running red lights, joining a queue of 3 other identical buses and then splitting onto different exits from a roundabout). Exciting!
I demonstrated the naked portafilter yesterday. It was a hit. I think news will now make it back to La Marzocco about it (perhaps they'll also hear my opinion of the basket design). I have a photo of Tim Wendelboe with a huge shit eating grin pulling a shot of Hairbender through a naked portafilter. Lovely!!
And now the event is over.
Denmark was the winner. They were wonderful in their presentation. Smooth, polished, professional - but obviously having a lot of fun with it all. There was no sense of being forced, no standoffishness.
The final dinner and cocktails were hysterical. There was national team Karaoke. There was shit-talking, champagne drinking and there was tasty lamb.
We should do something like this in the US. Maybe a US version with the various regions having teams? Maybe something with US, Canada and Mexico? It would and should be fun.