SERBC: actual action

September 10, 2005 – 1:51 pm

we’re going to pretend to live-blog. meaning that jake is holding the dude while i act like i can post in the no-wi-fi zone of the playhouse.


wow. there is some seriously hard-core knocking on the portafilter by competitor stephanie britt (of mr. toad’s in cary, n.c.). the very tall and extroverted matthew mcdaniel scott lenger was onto something yesterday, when he said the over-distribution, -tamping, -tapping of the grounds often ends up causing more problems that it solves (he was a dose-and-tamp-immediately kind of guy). i would guess damage is being done in stephanie’s puck here … (obvious repeat caveat: i’m not tasting jack)

overheard out in the lobby: a dressed-down nick cho saying that competition is a waaaay different beast than coffee-shop action. which would seem to indicate he has definite views on the matter despite his even-handed treatment in a recent podcast. interesting.

UPDATE: GHHHAAAAA. competitor lemuel “way-long-dreadlocks” butler was just miking up, and apparently his wasn’t the mike turned on. ’cause when the volume went up, one heard the distinct sound of flushing. ahem. we won’t guess who was nervous enough to leave his/her mike on at the, er, wrong time… the drama, it grips you.

UPDATE: lem’s espressos look NICE. very mottled crema that appears, on the gargantuan overhead screen, to be holding up very nicely. he mentioned some ethiopian harar therein. dude’s confident. AND he’s dressed to the nines … slick silver tie tucked between his shirt buttons.

UPDATE: lem’s steaming technique: “i try to get a nice vortex going … a nice, sexy foam.” there is, of course, reggae playing to lem’s dreadlocked routine. at the next station, murky’s mandy catron is warming up. curiously enough, murky owner nick cho is not watching the current competitor. he’s watching mandy. so is ryan jensen, the defending champ, current judge and murky regular.

UPDATE: lem twirled around with his sigs at 15:01 … yeesh. they look pretty slick. a tablespoon of maple syrup in cold glasses. steamed milk poured to halfway. a stick of chocolate cinnamon cocked in the glass. shots pulled on top. very good-looking. marbley and spare. i bet mandy rocks, tho.

UPDATE: at last: a competitor who makes eye contact with the judges. mandy has got the small stuff. judge dan kehn took a swill of her cappuccino and went back for more — twice. i haven’t seen him do that too much the past two days.

UPDATE: oooooh. mandy had the confidence to tell the judges that her capp shots were “ok,” but a little fast. i have some video of those shots i’ll post here later. she’s adjusted the grind a bit finer AND seems to be overdosing some. … definitely some slower shots now.

UPDATE: wooo. mandy has some sweet-action mod-minimalist stainless trays for her sigs. the cups are way small, and she’s poured some tea-looking liquid fro a flask into the bottoms. whooa.. MANDY HAS STOPPED HER ROUTINE COMPLETELY AND IS TELLING THE JUDGES ABOUT HER FAVORITE MYTH. daedylus and the pear tree or something. 90 seconds have gone, at least. wow. confidence. two minutes left. does this indicate she’s very satisfied with her shot adjustments, or is this simply a well-practiced routine? one minute left. it’s PEAR JUICE in the cup bottoms. and some potion called “divine intervention.” shots on top. then steamed milk. 10 seconds left. she’s served them! AUGH, she knocked over the sugar bowl into the judges!

mandy is saying in the post-routine interview she wanted to do something ginger — musta been in the potion — and to tell a story. she advised the judges to take one sip, then stir the drink a bit to change the flavor balance for the second sip. she just BARELY finished in time. and i dunno if the sugar-spill will hurt or not. impressive anyway. very impressive. mandy will surely place in the finals (again: i ain’t tasted nothing).