And here we go folks! Live from the floor reports from a variety of people as we detail this year's SCAA show.
In fact, here's what to expect over the next four days:
- up to the minute news reports on the United States Barista Championship
- show announcements and awards
- quick quips and micro interviews with some luminaries in the biz
- floor note observations and photos
- reports from the training sessions, lectures, keynote, seminars and panel discussions
- new product announcements and cool product news
So what's going on? Well, CoffeeGeek is at the 2004 Specialty Coffee Association of America's Annual Trade Show and Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. The training and USBC starts on Friday, and the show floor opens on Saturday. Everything wraps up on Monday, when the floor closes at 5pm and the USBC winner is announced. We'll have daily "blog" style updates by a variety of reporters, including Jeanette Chan, Jim Schulman, Mark Prince, Amanda Wilson (I guess I should ask her :)) and possibly one or two others.
Day Minus 1: I arrived on the Wednesday Night / Thursday morning "red eye" from Seattle because I had to go through a full day's "USBC Judges Certification Program" and that turned out to be a mistake. Not the certification program, that was awesome. It was the flight choice. I only slept about an hour on the flight, and I got to my hotel at 6am. I killed an hour or so, then headed for the training for 8am, and I was already toast... and had 8 hours of training to try and stay awake for.
By the time 2pm rolled around, I was positively punchy.
I did pass Certification (I'm a 2004 certified USBC and CBC judge now), which is good... I'm judging today at 1-3pm, and in the semis between 2 and 4pm, which are the two times I requested.
A lot of familiar faces were in the training. John Neate (JJ Bean) and Vince Piccolo (Cafe Artigiano) from Vancouver went through the program and both passed. Folks like Barry Jarrett, Andy Cronin, Jeff Babcock, John Sanders, John Hornall and others were all part of the process.
George Sabatos (damn, I hope I spelled his name right) showed up in the afternoon. If you know George, you know he's a bit of a superstar in the Aussie espresso scene. George is the guy who came up with the "overstuff" tamping method that Paul Bassett used so effectively in last year's World Barista Championship (and won!).
I got to have the ultimate geek moment when not only did George recognize who I was (and called me a celebrity - gulp), but we spent a good forty five minutes discussing the relative merits of filter basket sizes and equipment choices for producing the best shots of espresso. That was so cool.
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| Lindsey and George |
Lindsey Bolger (Green, back turned), an unidentified judge, and George Sabatos discuss coffee.
| Judges |
At the Judges' Certification, various groups break off for discussions.
| Bodum's Booth |
How it looks on Thursday.
| Mike Ferguson |
Getting all the last minute details ironed out.
Once the certification program was over, I was supposed to go have dinner with John Neate and others, but I was so toasted, zonked, dead, punch drunk, that all I did was go back to my hotel room, get caught up on some email (bad news - I can't seem to email out), and I went to bed at 9... got a good 8.5 hours of sleep, and it's up this morning, ready and raring to go. I have a judges' calibration meeting at 8:30 am this morning, then it's coverage of several Friday Intensive programs.
And off I go!