How to miss half of the Nordic Barista Cup
NBC day 1
After collecting our bags and hitting the hostel, M'Lissa and I made our way to the Nordic Barista Cup location at 4pm. Just in time to catch the champagne boat tour of Copenhagen. But, we missed the registration. We had no badges. Sarah Allen (Barista Magazine) spots me and we explain the situation and she takes charge and finds Bjorg Brend (Europa) for us. We are well taken care of.
The Guides of the tour are Fritz Storm and Troels Poulsen, who spent the whole time making fun of everyone involved including themselves.
We are let off the boat at the "Longest bar in Denmark" to have drinks with Sarah, Kyle Larson (Stumptown), Sigga Dora (Photographer and Klaus Thomsen's girlfriend), and Njall (part of Team Iceland) before dinner.
The opening dinner was a banquet at Noma. The 33rd best restaurant in the world we were told. Tim Wendelboe decided to join us at our table. It was good to see Tim again.
Due to the fact that I worked my normal open shift and neither of us can sleep on planes, both M'Lissa and I are pretty much working on a 40 hour day and wrecked. So, after the announcements of the first days winners we bolt. We didn't even wait for dessert.
NBC Day 2
I awaken in the very early morning feeling as if my head is splitting open. I slowly move to the bathroom where, to my great disappointment, I realize that the contents of my stomach no longer wish to stay there. Come to find out that M'Lissa is having the same difficulties. We manage to clean ourselves up and drag to the NBC. We make it through the opening seminar of the day. Which is on the Clover. Neither one of us can keep it up so we head back to the hostel. Four hours later and feeling slightly better we go back. Choke down some bananas, coffee, and A LOT of water.
From a distance we listen to Morten Munchow's (Kontra Coffee) lecture on water and talk with Lizz Hudson (Stumptown). As, the lecture finished the national teams then had a water cupping competition. Over several "flights" they had to correctly identify waters from the tap, different filtering processes and waters from their different countries.
We managed to get some more food down at the dinner buffet but still were not feeling well so we left before the final competition of the day. Sleep won out again.
NBC Day 3
Feeling better but still walking a fine line of dehydration we head off to the final day of the NBC. This time the event is held outside in a public square of Copenhagen. Enjoying some yogurt and the morning air Tim approaches us and asks if we would like to judge in the final competition of the day. It turns out that all the teams have to make coffee using the Clover. The teams will be using coffee they roasted earlier in the day as part of another competition. Of course we agree. In the meantime, as the teams start the day's first competiton, to sell coffee for Libras de Amor, we head off on a cafe crawl of Copenhagen.
We make it back in time for the Noma signature drink competition. Let's just say these kids are lining cups with meat. While the judges are sipping from meat cups I chat with James Hoffman. We geek out on Molecular Gastronomy and our personal tastes in espresso.
Next up was the Clover competition and our time to judge. Even though it is all in fun I was still a little nervous. Since this was M'Lissa's first cupping ever she thought she was going into cardiac arrest. Given that it is hard to brew in the Clover using very fresh coffee, I feel that all the teams presented good cups. Two did stand out however. To my taste Iceland had the sweetest cup and Norway had the best overall extraction. That was a lot of fun to be a part of.
Ending the event was an auction. They sold pretty much everything except the rented tent. With all of the proceeds also going to Libras de Amor.
Then came the gala dinner. The theme: 80's. Lets just say that not only is it a great experience to be in a room with so many of the worlds best in coffee, but to see them in ridiculous outfits and incredibly wasted is great in it's own way too. Those Scandinavians can party and so can Kyle;)
Chris Owens (more tales of Copenhagen to come)
This is a heavily condensed version due to the fact that I cannot seem to find free internet. I mean no offense to all the great people I may have left out of this account. It was truly amazing and I am extremely happy to know you all.