It's 6:27 am. It's cold. I can see my breath condense before my very eyes. I'm waiting at Durham train station for my ticket to Birmingham. I have a Costa double ristretto (do I ever learn?), and a cheese and ham toastie. Slipknot is playing very loudly, and I think the guy at the table opposite disapproves.
I'm headed for the Midlands Regional heat of the 2009 UKBC, partly to cheer on my good friend Chris Weaver, partly to be the first blog (to my knowledge) to do a write up of this year's comp. Mostly though it's to rip every screed of info I can in preparation for my own heat inn a weeks time.
The upshot of this, however, is that I can get back into blogging with a minimum of pain. I should probably apologise for not posting in over a month, but I have been tremendously busy, and the last thing I've wanted to do is take my job home with me. I was recently made Head Barista at Coolaboola, which includes writing up a training manual. We also took on a new barista. Some of you will already know him; Richard O'Connor, or RJames as those on CoffeeForums will know him. I'll post on his development as a barista (and mine as a barista trainer) at a later date, but suffice to say he's coming on brilliantly, even in the face of my training.
The two main reasons I've ignored Third Wave, however are both very simple. Competition has terrified me, and I got bored. Doing coffee day in, day out is fantastic, but coming home and blogging about it does get tiresome. After Christmas, with my competition preparation ramping up (at least in theory), Third Wave became nothing more than a distraction at best. So I knocked it on the head for a month. Now I hope to resurrect it.
Today I hope to put out two posts. This one, and a full run-down of the Midland's regional. One thing I've noticed as a competitor is a lack of any real information on what to expect. Aside from a few conversations with Stuart Lee Archer (of Pumphrey's Coffee, the host of the Northern Heat), I know almost nothing about the comp, except that it won't be a lot like Copenhagen was. So by the end of today I hope to be able to tell you the grinder which is provided, the layout of the competition, what the atmosphere was like, and much more besides. I'll also do my best to write up the competitors, so don't expect anything like a short post. Then again, when have I been known to write short posts? You love it really.
Anyway, I'll dash. Need to read through the Pro Barista Handbook and rip what I need for the Coolaboola manual lol.