Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Judge candidates listen intently on how to score the espresso.
Training baristas is a long and arduous process. Training judges is almost the same, except you only have two days to do it. The days are long and intensive. The first day was difficult mainly because I stepped off the plane at 5am and then walked into the training center at 10am - with no sleep in-between and almost no sleep on the flight.
But by the second day and practical exercises, I was basically rested and ready to assume my role as arbiter of all good things espresso: pulling shots and making drinks. Drinks that would be torn apart and critiqued without mercy. Drinks that were designed to be bad. Drinks that tried to be good.
Brent explains the finer points on taking apart my drinks.
The judges are a good lot. But it's interesting to find how local tastes sway the scores. Some of them want to go heavy on the penalization and it's difficult because you try to train them not to play the "bad cop" or "toughest judge" role. It's natural because everyone wants to show that they have some knowledge and standard so the first-time judge seems naturally disposed to being "tougher."
As the day progresses, all I can think is that I'm glad some of them weren't my USBC judges - they're tough!
RFTW - Ready For The World (barista championship)
These two ladies came by, asked for cappuccinos and got their wish!