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To the USBC or Bust!

Since I made my big announcement yesterday, I’ve been carefully weighing the pros and cons of competing. On the “pro” side…well, I’m sure there are all sorts of platitudes I could espouse about making oneself stronger. On the “cons” side of the list…I’d really rather not bore you with the details. Fortunately, I found out a loophole. It turns out that yesterday was April 1st. I can now gracefully back out of the trash talk I leveled against some of the country’s best baristas by passing that embarrassing post off as an April Fool’s joke.  USBC, I respectfully withdraw my name from the competition.

Just to clarify, though, I wasn’t fooling about the trip. I am still heading down to Anaheim, despite the irony of the US Barista Championship and Specialty Coffee Association of America trade show and exposition taking place at the convention center in one of the biggest cultural wastelands in the country.  Usually, I dread spots like Anaheim precisely because of the lack of good coffee (not that there isn’t any decent coffee in Orange County), but this trip is going to be like heading directly into the middle of an oasis – a really big oasis.

That brings me back to the convention then. Since I won’t be competing, I do need to figure out precisely what I am going to do. I could cover the competition, but given the live video feed, live blogging seems a bit unnecessary.  I’d certainly like to give folks my perspective on the days events and cover the types of things I’d like to know such as why did everyone make a collective groan when that barista ground up enough coffee for six shots. Unfortunately, I’m not a judge and don’t know the rules all that well. At best, I might be able to ask someone myself.

Another thing I will certainly try to do is make sure you know where to get the coffee these baristas are making. That is something I feel confident I can find out.  What cafe does that barista work for again? Who roasted his or her coffee? What’s that coffee called? This seems like the type of information that consumers – at least I – would want to know.  How can one recreate the winning coffee at home (or at least get a little bit close)?

But this seems like just the tip of the iceberg. Remember the trade show that I mentioned. The SCAA site boasts that somewhere around 8,000 people are going to be there. It’s going to be filled with all sorts of new coffee gizmos, gadgets and coffee.  There are also classes on all sorts of things about coffee. I don’t have a plan yet, but feel like I’m going to be a kid in a candy store.

This is the point where I turn to you, dear reader. What is it you would like to know about this event? Do you have burning questions about the rules of the competition? The basic concepts of the competition in the first place? Would you like the details on the finalists’ coffees? Would you like to simply know more about the exposition and what happens there? Maybe you’d kill to get a sneak peak at some impressive new gadget? Or perhaps you’re curious why Ariana Huffington is the key note speaker? I figure a lot of you might actually be there so you don’t count. Or maybe you do. Perhaps you find yourself constrained by reality, unable to be in two places at one time. If so, I believe I can help.

Here’s the idea. Comment below about what you’d like me to see and do. Big concept or specific detail. Anything goes. I will strive to be a man seeking answers. Twitter me as well. I will do my best to report in whatever way seems most appropriate (or simplest at the time).  Consider me something more than a critique and curator of coffee knowledge. I’ll strive to take on the form of a chose-your-own-reporter-adventure. That’s not to say that I don’t reserve the right to refuse what I deem a dare rather than an inquisitive request (I will not kiss Kyle Glanville). I also may occasionally exert my own opinion, wish or desire (I do not want to kiss Kyle Glanville). Let the experiment begin.

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1 comment to To the USBC or Bust!

  • Ouch! The cultural wasteland comment was painful, and maybe that’s because it’s partially true…nevertheless, great coffee IS to be had here. I live in said wasteland and work for Portola Coffee, an awesome little roaster, soon to be roaster-retailer, based in Irvine. You should check it out if you’re going to the expo! http://www.portolacoffee.com :)

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