Finally, the WBC 2009 sponsors have been announced. At 2pm (London time) today the WBC broadcast the announcement on their homepage (http://www.worldbaristachampionship.com/).
Well, I'll get straight to it. The grinder sponsor is Mahlkönig. They have put forward two grinders, the K30 Vario and the K30 Twin, both of which were used by a few baristi at last year's event. As opposed to the classic grinder design we saw in previous events (the K10, with it's dosing chamber) the K30 is an automatic grinder, ensuring that coffee wastage is kept to an absolute minimum. The Twin also allows the barista to use two hoppers, both of which have totally independent grind settings and ventilation.
The machine sponsor has been a subject of debate for a while now; would La Marzocco keep it, or would Nuovo Simonelli finally take their place. Well, I can tell you now that La Marzoccos dominance over the WBC is at an end, and that Nuovo Simonelli are the official sponsors for 2009-11. The Aurelia is an amazing piece of kit, with more technology than I can fit into a post. If people were excited about a dual boiler, it's nothing compared to the tech in this baby. My advice is to watch the announcement on the WBC site, it'll be worth watching if you haven't already.
So what does this mean for us competitors?
The grinder, well, this effectively removes the worry about coffee wastage. I got to use the Mahlkonig in Copenhagen, and if you're on the ball you'll have no problems what-so-ever. This is because, with it lacking a dosing chamber, you have an unfettered view of the portafilter, allowing you to see when the shot is dosed properly. To be honest, this is the bit of kit I'm most excited by, and one that I look forward to getting reacquainted with come the UKBC.
The machine, well, I'll be honest, I was really looking forward to getting onto a GB/5. They look gorgeous, and they're La Marzoccos for goodness sake! who wouldn't want a go. But from the looks of it the Nuovo Simonelli is by no means an inferior machine. Major differences will be the chance to change the length of pre-infusion, and a group system that supposedly removes channeling (though I'd check up on that if I were you; the tech confused me a bit lol). Also, the steam arm isn't switched on and off with a knob, but a paddle instead. It is still a three-group machine.
So, we live in exciting times eh? Two new sponsors, giving Compak and La Marzocco three years to build something better than the K30 and the Aurelia. Personally, as a competitor I can't wait, and as an audience member I can only imagine that this change in espresso machine will level the playing field a little, hurting those people who work on Marzoccos day in day out, or those with previous competitive experience. But that's just my two cents. So, what do you guys think?
Till next time,
P.S: I have been to Central Bean, but haven't gotten around to actually writing any kind of review yet. I promise I will get around to it, just bear with me lol