If you've been hanging out here with me for awhile, you'll have picked up the fact that I'm not a morning person and I need my Pink Fluffy Dressing Gown and a decent cup of coffee to get me moving. Any break in that routine...and well...there have been massacres which have ended better. I need my decent coffee.
This was my starting definition of 'decent coffee'. At the end of a rather hideous relationship I was given a coffee machine and it made brilliant filter coffee, until it broke. Since then, I've been through 6 coffee machines, different makes, prices. They all broke. Ladies and gentlemen, all I wanted was a good cup of no-fuss coffee in the morning. Was that too much to ask? Apparently so.
Then I spent a weekend at the 2011 Voewood Festival with Dave* . When we spotted the mobile coffee vendor and he assured me it would be good, and it was, I was putty in his hands. What can I say? He then introduced me to the two places in Norwich I can't live without: The Window and Strangers Coffee House.
I have gone from drinking cappuccinos with 2 sugars to straight-up espressos. My palette has changed. I used to only enjoy full-flavoured, in-your-face coffee, now I quite enjoy the lighter, more flowery coffees.
My morning brew is now made from a stove-top. It's as no-fuss as a person can get.
I am now totally fussy about the coffee I drink. I won't voluntarily go into Starbucks, a gun in my back might do the trick. I will visit Costa, if I absolutely must and Cafe Nero remains my chain preference.
Hanging out with proper baristas and drinking proper coffee and then going to the UKBC heats in Bury St Edmunds and then to Chester, I have been having an absolute blast! Tomorrow, I am off to the London Coffee Festival with Dave, we will use the opportunity to gad around, drink loads of coffee and I will network like crazy. On Saturday, Alex from Strangers will be competing in the UKBC Semi-finals. I will be crew again. He's got some really stiff competition. He is up against some of the best baristas in the country. The fact that out of all of the many hundreds of baristas in this country, he's in the semi-finals - it shows he is really, really good!
Once I'm done crewing with Alex, I get to put on my "official" volunteer t-shirt for the rest of the day. I'll help out with whatever needs doing.
The finals will be held on Sunday. Only the 6 best baristas will go through. I will be volunteering all day! Yay!
I am ridiculously excited. It's going to be so much fun. Hard work. But so much fun.
Oh yeah....and this is a video from the Sanremo guys (they make lush professional coffee machines). By the way, the guy who asks for the coffee, he looks after the baristas in the prep room - he's got my tamper**.
*AKA Lawrence. As I'm talking about his official, stated title as Sensory Coffee Judge for the UK Barista Championships, he gets his proper name used. Just to confuse you all.
**It's MY tamper, not Reg Barber's.