Friday, June 24, 2011

Why Didn't I Think Of That!

Cuppers pondering their future.

Regular readers of this blog know that despite the fact that I travel around the world training baristas, judges and judging barista competitions (in addition to having been a competitor myself), I find watching coffee competitions to be insanely droll and boring to watch.

At the SCAA Houston a couple of months ago, the coffee powers that be created a new competition called the Brewer's Cup (or something silly like that). I had the opportunity to watch one competitor (a friend of mine) in the first round and was gobsmacked that someone somewhere had (incredibly) found a way to design a coffee competition more mind numbing than the barista competition. Imagine watching someone brew coffee with all the narration and enthusiasm of grass growing and you've got a baseline idea of the misery purported upon those foolish enough to watch.

Of all the coffee competitions, one of the more interesting (from an audience perspective) is the World Cup Tasting Championship. Essentially, you have three competitors going head-to-head with eight sets of three coffee samples in front of them. The idea is that the competitor is supposed to taste the samples and determine the odd coffee amongst the three in each set. Do this with the most accuracy and quickest time and move on to the next round and perhaps become the champion.

Depending on the coffee and depending on how it's brewed (as well as other factors), different coffees can actually look different. But it's a cupping competition and everyone is focused on tasting the coffees and using their palate to discern the differences.

Somewhere far away from America, the little nation of Greece is in jeopardy of defaulting on its debt and causing the destabilization of the Euro and perhaps the worldwide economy. Maybe it's inspiration by his nation but the Greek competitor in the cupping championship has just destabilized the legitimacy and credibility of the World Cup Tasting Championship.

Instead of actually tasting the coffees, the Greek competitor simply looked at the three samples and quickly discerned the sample that looked different without tasting. Evidently, he identified all of them correctly. He did this in the First Round, which landed him in the Semi-Finals where he did it again which propelled him to the Finals and, finally, as World Champion.

All without ever tasting any of the coffees.

I think that would have been the most entertaining coffee competition ever.