an espresso lover's blog

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Barista Torstein Bjørklund has sent me this nice report from the recent icelandic barista championship. Check it out - a good read!

Report from the Icelandic Barista championship 2005
By Torstein Ivarsson Bjørklund

After not getting to the finals in the Norwegian barista championship this year, my brother and I quickly ordered some tickets to Iceland, and the next day we were half way over the Atlantic. This might seem a bit crazy, but I was trying to get to my grandmothers funeral two days after the competition, and it would have been impossible if I got to the finals. I was unlucky but at the same time glad to be able to reach it. What I did not know though, was that during my stay in my second homeland, the Icelandic Barista Championship was going to be held at Smáralind, the largest shopping mall on Iceland. I only got to watch the finals, but it was really worth the trip out of the city centre.

For those of you who watched the Norwegian competition, the Icelandic arrangers had really thought of a good way to gain a large crowd. By setting up the entire competition in the middle of the two-floored Mall, they got nearly a hundred spectators in the finals. The local coffeeshops and machine retailers had stands in the area, so there were plenty to view, smell and taste. They had also put up two big screens and speakers so the sounds of the competition echoed through the entire mall.

The head judge, Andreas Kragh and one of the technical judges, Klaus Thomsen had arrived from Denmark to assist in the competition.

Klaus works at Estate Coffee in Copenhagen, and Andreas comes from the well known Café Europa in the same city. After six impressive presentations the judges made their decision, and announced the winners just minutes after the last contestant.

The results:

1. Jónina Tryggvadóttir
2. Thórey Vigfúsdóttir
3. Njáll Björgvinsson
4. Ása Jelena Peterson
5. Kristín Ingimarsdóttur
6. Marta Ólafsdóttir

Jónina Tryggvadóttir did an impressive presentasion. Sadly, I did not get any pictures of her since my camera ran out of film. Her signature beverage was a blend of espresso and a rum-syrup, which she had boiled down from Havana Club rum. On top she laid a layer of whipped cream with the same syrup. She had named it Fidel after the Cuban rum. Thórey won the price for the best signature beverage, named Staupasteinn.

The beverage that impressed me most was Ása Jelena´s. She made a sorbet out of Lapsang Souchong tee which she had in her glasses. She then shaked the espresso cold with sugar and poured it over the sorbet. Personally I love Lapsang Souchong
tea, and especially her usage of it in the drink, but not everyone
share my opinion. The tea is strange, and many dislike it. So she
took a chance. Ása won the championship in 2003 and ended up second
in Boston at the WBC. She was raised in Northern Norway, and speaks
fluent Norwegian, so I had a nice chat with her after the
competition. She won the price for the best Latte Art too. Congratulations!

Njáll, who won last year, impressed everyone with steady technique and four really nice looking cappuccini. His presentation was great too. I didn't have the opportunity to taste his beverages though. Marta Ólafsdóttir ended up in sixth place, but she did a great job, competing for the first time only 18 years old.
Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to watch Kristín Ingimarsdóttur from Kaffitár, also competing for the first time. The speaker must be mentioned too. She made a great job introducing and telling about the six contesters, keeping the crowd interested. I didn't get her name though. It remains to see how well Jónina
contends in the WBC, but our own Gunnhild will for sure have plenty of worthy opponents in Seattle. For those of you planning to see the WBC in April, you will meet all the Icelandic contesters who got to the finals there. They represent the Icelandic barista team, and will all travel to the States together with Jónina.

// -torstein

(copyright Torstein Bjørklund)

Technical judges
Illy's stand with Bailey's
Njáll Björgvinsson makes cappuccini
Asa's gear
Head judge from Denmark
Claus from Denmark observes Þórey Vigfúsdóttir's (2nd. place) technique
Judges taste the cappuccino
Þórey Vigfúsdóttir
Þórey Vigfúsdóttir
Judges with the large crowd in the background. (ca 70-80)

3/20/2005 08:56:00 PM  

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