it’s hard to discern the bigger trend: the sea salt in the competition signature beverages, the simultaneous spro, the widespread use of gravy boats or the sheer staggering volume of online barista hair jokes aimed in the general direction of those coffee persons most follicularly endowed. to say this blog was in tears is to say that brett walker has a bit o’ facial scruff.
* and on the third day, the official blog of the national coffee smackdown got some soul. some lumpy, globally conscious, quasi-relevant meta-soul. we now agreeably recommend it and wait for twitchy to snottily up the ante. (UPDATE: more meta here.)
* if you’re a creepily juggernaut-ish chicago espresso powerhouse, and you own six of 24 semifinalists, does putting two of them in the finals count as a win, a loss or a draw? do you huzzah because your odds have improved? do you weep over the .333 batting average? or do the sweets and the bitters complement, like an optimally balanced espresso score sheet?
* you knew this already: watching a barista competition tells you nothing. gauging the live online patter all day, you’d think the smoothest operators were, in this order, albina’s billy wilson, intelligentsia’s mike phillips, aldo’s belle battista and octane’s danielle glasky — none of whom made the finals. as in politics, you might think this defeats the purpose of punditry. but you’d be wrong! uncertainty breeds punditry, friend. like gators in a swamp.
* so ben helfen is cokers for finland, yes. so much so that he gratuitously weaves it into conservation. but look, when you find a way to wear the finnish flag during competition, you can’t lose! it’s like a global job advertisement! HIRE ME PLEASE!!! a wild guess: ben will arrive in ideal european coffee climes long before the rest of us dreamers.
*watch for ‘em in the finals: gravy boats. bouillabase basins. saucy skiffs! when it comes to barista gear, they’re the new anfims.