Nick wins

barista competitions, trade shows, jams, tastings

Nick wins

Postby xristrettox on Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:39 am

Am I to understand from this post that Nick Cho won the regional? Congrats Nick!
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Postby James Hoffmann on Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:56 am

I assumed so.

Well done Nick!

Any word on the score? (can't help but ask?)
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Postby bz on Sun Sep 24, 2006 4:29 pm

nick indeed won -- walking away, if i had to guess. daryn berlin of counter culture coffee was second.

lem butler, though, is still the southeast's top "working" barista. :wink: he placed third.

sorry about the ambiguity of the post. i had a friend type it up over the phone, in an effort to beat dan kehn to the punch.

some thoughts to be posted shortly -- though earlier promises of video are now moot. nine hours of driving, and somehow my camera didn't catch a single minute. i don't know how. i used it outside on my kids, 10 minutes before. worked. i go inside to tape the competition -- nothing. except i'm just now finding out.

so much for meaningful contributions...
Last edited by bz on Sun Sep 24, 2006 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jeff Givens on Sun Sep 24, 2006 4:52 pm

Way to go Nick!
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Postby nick on Mon Sep 25, 2006 7:44 am

Thanks all.

First round was 680-something, finals was 640-something. My espresso course SUCKED (specifics later), leaving a LOT of points on the table. Zeros for crema. Judges noted that I lost additional points on overall, based on the poor espressos. My capps were so-so (3's?). I knew the sig drink was esoteric and might not score well with some judges, but they liked it more than I thought they would.

To satisfy curiosity... in a nutshell:
    My sig drink (untitled):
    - kicked on Bodum electric hot water kettle
    - set up judges table and did the intro
    - presented tray with the sig drink (including glasses) to judges table:
      - two rocks glasses with 12 grams of El Salvador Aida's Grand Reserve Peaberry ground in each
      - cupping bowl with two cuppings spoons
      - dish with 5 small-ish balls cantaloupe (yes, there were balls in the drink)
      - dish with a little honey
      - a little dark "molasses sugar"
      - four glasses (sorta like Koziol cups... with rubber ring around the middle)
      - small Eva Solo coffee brewer
    - poured water from kettle into rocks glasses (set up cupping)
    - made and served capps
    - broke crust and skimmed
    - dumped contents of cupping glasses into Eva Solo
    - added melon, honey, and sugar
    - swirled Eva Solo
    - made and served espressos
    - took the four glasses from sig drink tray to machine and pulled shot in each
    - served to judges
    - added 2.5 oz from Eva Solo to each
    - "time"

The "point" of it all:
In 2003, Aida Batlle submitted two lots to the inaugural El Salv CoE. Finca Kilimanjaro took #1 and broke the internet auction record of the time. Finca Los Alpes also won (#16). This launched Aida's "rockstar" coffee-producer status, and began close relationships with the buyers of those two coffees, Solberg and Hansen, and Wataru in Japan, going as far as establishing exclusive arrangements with each for each coffee respectively. PeterG at Counter Culture soon after became the exclusive buyer of Finca Mauritania, Aida's third specialty coffee farm.

Since that time, others have had the opportunity to partake in Aida's coffees, notably at last year's Nordic Cup, through Sweet Maria's, Stumptown, and others.

"Aida's Grand Reserve" is a blend of the peaberries from her three farms (brand-new crop), and is a phenomenal-phenomenal coffee.. My espresso blend was an all-El Salvador blend, with about 15% of that Grand Reserve, with the rest being half Finca Mauritania (past crop) and a pulped natural "Cerro La Rana" from Finca San Francisco (from a mill that Aida now does some consulting work for).

The presentation was about the story of Aida, returning to El Salvador to help run her family's coffee farms, "stumbling" into Cup of Excellence, and winning the top prize. The melon, honey, and molasses were taken from the tasting notes from the international jury for Aida's coffees at that CoE. The craziest part was, Aida was there.

Everyone did great. I was honored to stand with Daryn and Lem with the trophies: they're both great baristas and great competitors.

...and now the eyes depart from North Carolina, flying across the country to Portland, Oregon, where in less than a month, there will be another regional espresso throw-down.
Last edited by nick on Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Peter G on Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:29 am

Hey All-

The thrill for me in Nick's presentation was this:

Aida happened to be in the states for her consulting gig last week, and was able to travel to NC to watch Nick and the other competitors.

After Nick was through competing, during his cleanup period, he pulled two shots of his unusual espresso prepared from coffee from Aida's farm, and brought them into the audience to share with her.

I was stoked.

Peter
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Postby Luis Rodriguez on Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:44 am

Awesome! Soooo glad for both! what a nice ending!....

I spoke yesterday with Aida she was so excited and happy to see her 'baby� doing so great again (I mean the coffee/farm not you Nick ;)way to go! congrats nick and keep on rockin!!!!
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Postby Ryan Willbur on Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:22 am

Mucho Congrats Nick! Sounds like you rocked the house...

So, seriously, now who's going to MC this years USBC?
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Postby Sandy on Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:36 am

Oh Nick,
That was beautiful

:cry: :cry:
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Postby James Hoffmann on Mon Sep 25, 2006 2:34 pm

Love the idea Nick, though you know you that.

How come people were writing about blood orange?

How did it feel to be the other side of the host's mic?
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Congrats

Postby gabelucas on Mon Sep 25, 2006 3:25 pm

Nick, CONGRATULATIONS!

I wanted to thank you for truly making it about the coffee and the producer and the process (ex. cupping notes/relationship). way to go my man.
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Postby nick on Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:04 pm

James Hoffmann wrote:How come people were writing about blood orange?

How did it feel to be the other side of the host's mic?

The blood orange? Because I used an "essence of blood orange" in my sig drink... from round one. I prepared and presented a completely different 15 minutes for the two rounds.

Two words: Espresso Laranja. Live it. Learn it. Obey it.


As for "other side of the mic," it's much more fun and meaningful being the true reason that people are there and not the big-mouth monkey who blah-blahs during the in-between (I mean me... not you, Peter G ;-)).
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Postby ryan brown on Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:46 pm

congratulations nick!

i can't wait to see it at the usbc.
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Postby sarahdelilah on Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:05 am

giant congrats to you, nick!!! your drink sounds spectacular, and what a true delight it must have been to have aida there with you.

all us americans in copenhagen are toasting you right now!

Skøl!!!
[/list]
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Postby Phuong on Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:07 am

Nick - Your presentation sounds extraordinary! Well done!!

Congrats to Daryn and Lem too!

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Postby jmc on Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:55 pm

Congrats Nick!
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Postby bz on Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:22 pm

in a stunning reversal of my grief, i've managed to recover the lost video from last weekend's serbc. i think you'll agree it shows nick to be thoroughly deserving of his win.

http://ben.szobody.com/blog/index.php?t ... &tb=1&pb=1
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Postby nick on Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:04 pm

I started writing this as a comment on ben.szobody.com's blog, but decided to post it here instead.

This was in response to his statement, "also, plenty of room for improvement on the espresso round. maybe too bright for the judges?"

It wasn't too bright... my pull sucked.

My espresso course came 2nd sequentially, but because my sig drink preparation took so much time during the front-end, I didn't pull espresso shots from the El Salv Blend grinder until like 11 or 12 minutes into the 15. I skipped an important step: grind out the "chute" coffee and dump, then grind all-fresh and dose and pull. I just ground, dosed, and pulled. As a result, with those dried-out chute-grounds taking up about 5-8 grams of my 20 gram dose, the shot ran fast. I had to wipe up one of my capps a couple minutes earlier, so re-pulling was out of the question.

Also, the blend has a shockingly clean finish. I mean, after a minute or two, the espresso flavor is virtually gone from the mouth, unlike any espresso I've ever personally had. My theory is this: what causes the flavors to typically linger so long? Answer: oils. What is crema made of? Answer: emulsified oils. It's my belief that the same thing that causes such a clean finish also hurts crema retention.

In talking to the judges later, a couple mentioned that the espresso flavor was almost too fleeting, and they wished that they could have asked for another shot. While they were evaluating it, the flavor vanished out of their mouths. It reminded me of the simple fact that everyone tastes things differently (I don't mean perceives it differently... I mean the way they interact with it is different). Ben, that's why you saw me slorp-slorping during setup. That espresso is best tasted by taking a moderate sip, then rolling it around the mouth before down-the-hatching it. It's something that I started doing without really realizing why.

Three out of the four judges had giant black liquid holes staring up from their demitasses. They couldn't understand how my technicals could be near-perfect, my execution visually confident and skilled, but result in such a shitty looking shot. Well, I guess I showed them how. :roll: :wink:

The funny thing is, the crema on my sig drink was perfect. I pulled those sig-drink shots (same espresso... the all-El-Salv) into flat-bottomed glasses (about 2.5 inches in diameter) and the crema held firm through the pulls, through me serving each glass (with just the espresso in them) to the judges, and through when I poured in the rest of the ingredients (from the Eva Solo).
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Postby scottlucey on Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:25 am

i just wanna get in on the high-five action.
nice work. yer keeping me up at night.
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Postby nick on Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:02 pm

Thanks Scott. I hope I'm wearing something nice and frilly when thoughts of me keep you up at night.

Michelle has put up her SERBC photos. (link fixed, I think)

No, sadly, no pics of the toppled bean hopper. I'll share more stories about it on the next podcast.
Last edited by nick on Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sandy on Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:28 pm

Nick,
the link is not linking.
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