It has been quite a couple of days. I thought I was done with the saccharin thank-yous and recaps, hence this. However, it would be remiss of me not to properly acknowledge everyone who helped me out with the IBC this year. It all came together very late, but I just found a willingness all around me for friends to pitch in.
Firstly my roaster, Peter James, of James Gourmet Coffee. I’ve never met Peter, we’ve only exchanged emails and phone calls. The UK is currently blessed with a number of excellent coffee roasters and Peter stands among them. I wanted to use funky naturals this year, and I knew Peter had some amazing ones, and I’ve long been an admirer of his roasting. The first blend he sent me contained 4 different naturally processed coffees from all around the world. It was to be called the Interplanetary Natural Bomb. It was good, very good but what followed was better, an 80:20 split of the Ethiopian Shilcho OCR Sidamo Natural and the Costa Rican Las Lajas Natural. Strawberries and apricots and natural funky town all day long, chewy, big, sweet. It won best espresso. Thanks Peter – you rocked it!
Karl Purdy once again generously loaned me a La Spaziale S5 to put in my kitchen. As I hadn’t really steamed milk on a commercial machine in a year, this afforded me some time to re-familiarize myself. As with last year I swapped out the La Spaz steam wand for the rather “idiosyncratic” CMA Plus 4 You wand.
My father Leo did the 200 mile round trip milk run. I went with my grandfather’s farm’s raw milk again. I didn’t mention it during the routine because I didn’t want to make it about the milk. I just used it simply because it tasted great.
Fergus Moloney, he who once also wrote on this site took time off work, took time off his family, helped me get organized, did run-throughs with me. Fergus is the kind of person you want in the trenches with you. Things get done when he is around. He is also rather self-effacing individual, who denies any great knowledge of coffee or of having a palate, but as a late addition to the Irish Cupping Championship he was one cup away from joining me in the final having gotten 7 correct out of 8 – only to be denied a final place on time.
I cannot really thank Paul Stack enough, firstly he and Shane Pender (thanks Shane) took me over the course of one run through from a chaotic, incoherent mess to something with a well defined clear message. Paul is a great natural verbal communicator (among his many talents), in all honesty for his feedback I turned on the voice recorder on my iPhone and let him stream-of-consciousness into it. If I had played it back at the IBC it would have been pretty close to a lot of what I ended up saying. He was also my most trusted second opinion for dialing in the drinks taste-wise.
Plus it was nice to have the Operations Director of one of Europe’s leading coffee machine companies washing and polishing my cappuccino cups while I frittered about.
I collapsed in a heap shortly after returning home from the semi-finals on Wednesday. I did not awaken until the following morning. Not only had my wife Marie washed and ironed everything for the repeat performance, but she had left me a checklist of things I had to take with me. Her Facebook activity reveals she was up until about 1am doing all this. This is just one example of a couple of weeks of near constant help and disruption to our home.
Behind every man…