monday is a blur - created by the combination of a wicked hangover, super high stress and a sense of dislocation.
the hangover was the result of days of drinking too much beer at night and too much coffee during the day with the sunday night party hopping and resulting switch from beer to bourbon being the capper.
the stress came from the looming deadline - the party at Stumptown and subsequent tour.
the dislocation was the natural result of spending time at a tradeshow, coupled with the strangeness of the WBC.
anyway... the day started with a quick trip to Victrola with Bronwen and Jeremy. Victrola is one of my favorite coffee bars in Seattle. i love the vibe, the people are super cool and the coffee is really good. i had a couple nice espressos and a very good shot of Rwanda Gatare.
and i had a great talk with Tonx there about my issues with grinders (grin).
we then ran over to the WBC where i had a chance to watch some of the best competition baristas in the world strut their stuff.
in the end there were two big shocks.
1 - the competitor from Japan took second. while he looked really good, smooth, polished and professional, and his milk looked great - i have to say that his shots didn't look all that great. they seemed to go blond super early. from watching, i'd picked him to take 4th.
2 - Sammy took third. his shots looked amazing, his drinks seemed great - both Bronwen and i picked it to be a toss-up between him and Troels for top spot.
anyway... from here it was back to the show floor and a total nightmare experience at Versalab. a total demonstration of what not to do when it comes to either/both customer service and sales. they should be ashamed.
then more shots at the BGA booth (mmm...). too much fun!
a quick visit to the Probat booth (envy, desire), a quick stop by the Espresso Parts booth (cups, tamper brackets, nice people) and then over to the Espresso Vivace booth for an incredibly good IPA. David Schomer really knows his beer. Honestly, I think he might even be better with beer than with espresso. It was such a tonic - such a relief from the way the show had treated me (so to speak). Just standing there, drinking a gorgeous PNW IPA with lovely grapefruit tones and shooting the shit with someone I respect.
I could breathe again.
then rush to the train, head to Portland and panic a bit as the phones start to roll in about the CoE judges and roastery owners and superstars from all over the world who are showing up in the Stumptown cafes.
soon i'll re-cap the whole SCAA and WBC thing with a cogent document describing what i've learned, what i think, the highlights and lowlights.