an espresso lover's blog

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Come to think of it I never wrote anything about the norwegian barista championship. In short it was a really nice event. I like to attend these events because of the inspiring performances and creative use of coffee, but to be honest the main reason is to catch up with friends and acquaintances. The coffee scene in Norway isn't that big and it is easy to get to know people. They are all very friendly and outgoing, with a desire to make really good coffee.

This year's event was held in the Oslo Atrium building close to the central station. It is a huge building with lots of space, air and air. Perfect for such an event (and for photography!). I would have loved to work in that building. Last year's event in Trondheim was held in a nice place too, but it was inside some kind of conference hall / movie theatre with limited light, and with the spectators having to sit some distance from the baristi. This year it was possible to stand right next to the action. Very nice for someone like me who likes to get really close when taking photos.

(I love the way the Canon 50mm f1.8 mark II (translated to 80mm on a DSLR) lens forces me too do crops and change my way of composing)

When arriving I met all the regulars like Anders Gulden Olstad, Alexander von der Lippe, Tim Wendelboe, Eirik Johnsen, Tone etc. They are all so nice people. It didn't take long before I was snapping away and enjoying the event.

At the end of day 1 we all got a nice buffet dinner/late lunch sponsored by SCAE. Yum! This was combined with the announcement of the finalists. It was a close race this year so people I personally expected would be in the top 3 didn't make it even though their performance was seemingly top notch. Being a spectator, it is hard to judge the performance when one can't taste the drinks. Granted, one can be bold and step up to take a sip from one of the judges signature drinks after they're done, but the signature drink is just one of the components of the total evaluation. I would have loved to be able to taste their espressi and cappuccini too.

After the finals (and another day of taking lots of photos), we went to a restaurant/bar in downtown Oslo called Centraal. The winner, Gunnhild Seljenes, was announced and we then proceeded to eat a nice tapas dinner. Before arriving I had gotten prints made from some of my pictures. I handed these out to some of the baristi which seemed to appreciate it. I think Gunnhild (the winner) got something like 6 prints since I took a lot of photos of her. She is very photogenic and I really liked her outfit in the competition.

During the dinner I had a nice chat with Tim W. and among other things asked him about the final stages of extraction (very coffeegeeky question, I know, but dammit, he is the world champion and got the answers). I told him that I was curious about judging the last stages of the pour with regard to 100% arabica blends vs. those with robusta in them. As I expected and basically already knew, but needed to get confirmed, a 100% arabica blend may look like it is done to somebody used to robusta blends, having the mousetails curl inwards, getting lighter etc., but can be extracted some seconds more looking like that with good results. A robusta based blend extracted that far will definitely be overextracted. Interesting stuff. I will definitely experiment more with 100% arabica blends.

Here are some more pictures from the event:

Anders Gulden Olstad shooting video for this site (that I will post here when I get hold of a firewire cable)
An arm
Torstein's glasses
Gunnhild 1
Gunnhild 2
Gunnhild 3
Torstein pours
Marianne pours
Renate pours
Renate pours again
And again
(they all seem to be pouring a lot during these things)
Roy's back and colorful shirt in a sea of white and black outfits
Tim and Eirik
Torstein watching the action
Torstein dosing
Torstein steaming

3/24/2005 12:05:00 PM  

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NM 2005 pics #1
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Oslo qual 2004 pics
NM 2004 pics #1
NM 2004 pics #2
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Stockfleths move video
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E2K review (16.05.2003)
SH roastery visit
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