My nice boss agreed to give me a day off so I took an early plane to Trondheim on Friday. The flight was really nice with clear weater and lots to see. I am pretty interested in aeroplanes and flying in general, so I always sit close to the window and admire the view from way up. When I arrived at Værnes airport I only had to walk 5-10 min to get to Rica Hell Hotel where the championship was already under way. I immediately spotted some familiar faces from Stockfleths coffee bar in oslo, Tim Wendelboe, Alex, Stine and several others. Really nice to see them. I also saw Alexander von der Lippe, but he was busy judging in the semifinals.
There weren’t many spectators that Friday and the number didn’t improve that much throughout the weekend. I guess that is the price to pay for arranging it close to the airport, a 30 min drive from downtown Trondheim. Still, we had a great time at the hotel with nice rooms, buffets etc. Some even found a sauna and swimming pool, but I never got around to looking for those, even though I love saunas (or badstue as we call it). The people at the hotel did a great job helping us and always being nice and forthcoming.
A reader of this blog, Audun, also turned up and we had a good time talking coffee and playing with the La Marzocco at the entrance. Audun is a really nice guy that is as passionate about coffee as I am. He was supposed to record an album with his jazz band that weekend, but luckily there were some postponements so he could hang around at the hotel for several hours both Saturday and Sunday. He is a chemist so we spoke a bit about types of milk and why fat content plays a role in the way we perceive a cup of cappuccino or other milk-based coffee drinks. I can’t remember enough of the details to give an explanation (but maybe you could write a comment about it Audun?).
I got Tim Wendelboe to try some espresso coffee that I had roasted in my scarecrow popper. I brought with me some costa rica tres nubes, ethiopia sidamo and mexico liquid ambar. A blend was quickly composed of about 70% mexico and 30% sidamo. Tim liked it and I was real happy. Martin Solvang from Mocca coffee bar and roastery was there too and took a sip. He was apparently pretty surprised to hear that I had roasted it in a 250 kroner popper..hehe. Home roasting is so cool. I had never really spoken with Martin before. He seemed like a really nice guy. He is apparently working mostly in a movie production company these days, so he’s not working that much as a barista. Still he would end up this weekend as the 3rd best barista in norway.
The first day of the semifinals apparently went well. There were some problems with the lighting, but that was quickly resolved. Some baristi were pretty nervous before entering the stage, but that is very normal. Barista championship = stress management championship. Tim Wendelboe wasn’t happy with his performance. His espressi didn’t pour that well, and he said he didn’t expect to get to the finals. I don’t really know what went wrong. He had roasted a special blend for the championship, so maybe it hadn’t reached its peak yet.
After the semifinals we ate a nice dinner buffet, drank some beers and enjoyed ourselves. I was thinking how nice it is to finally have a steady income as a web designer and being able to attend gatherings like these.
I’ll write about day two tomorrow. I really need to get some sleep now.