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My first coffee competition: Pt 1

June 1, 2010

I started out with a plan to write a post about my first coffee competition – the UK Cevze/Ibrik Championships 2010. Since the competition, I’ve been pondering what I wanted to say about it. Certainly something about my performance – both for myself and for anyone else about to try a coffee competition for the first time. Certainly something about the competition itself. Certainly something about the people I met… And you can see how the scope quickly becomes too large for just one blog post. So I’m chopping it up into two parts. This is part 1, and in it I’ll talk about the competition, the results and the people – basically the parts of the experience that aren’t to do with me specifically. Part 2 will follow shortly, and will cover my performance and the lessons I’ve learnt.

The competiton
This year was the first UK Cevze/Ibrik Championships, and the flow of information from the SCAE UK was a bit unreliable at time. Thankfully, I was put in contact with Aysin Aydogdu – who has been the UK competitor at the World Championships previously, coming 3rd in 2009. Aysin was very kind and very helpful – I’d left entering late because of changing jobs, so I wasn’t certain I could get my entry sorted in time, but Aysin got it all sorted and answered my technical questions.

I’ve got to say I was very nervous – it was my first competition, after all. We were in the downstairs part of the Ishtar Restaurant, and as the competitors and audience arrived, so my nervousness increased. I was the only competitor who hadn’t grown up making coffee in an Cevze/Ibrik, and I quickly realised that the audience were equally knowledgeable.

My nervousness continued to build during the pre-competition routines – a belly-dancing display, an explanation of the competition rules and introductions for the judges etc. We drew lots for competition order, and I was third of five – luckily, pretty much were I would have chosen to be!

The nerves hampered my performance – see part 2 for more on that – but weren’t needed.. The audience was very kind and appreciative, as were the other competitors. After we’d all competed, I was third, Hasan Huseyin second and Aysin first. Hasan put on a polished performance to pip me to second place – his experience really showed through in how calm and well paced his routine was. He’s also a really nice guy, and gave me some much appreciated support and offers of assistance (again, see part 2) before the competition. Aysin smashed all of us with her display. It was all about showing the traditional Turkish setting for drinking coffee, and was very impressive. Combine that with great coffee, and she makes a fantastic and very well deserved UK Champion – I’m really looking forward to cheering her on at the WCICs. I’ve already mentioned her help with my entry for the competition – so for all her help and support both before and on the day, I’m hugely thankful to Asyin.

A big thankyou and well done also to the MC and the scorekeeper for the day – both of whom were new to coffee, and got roped in by Aysin – but both of whom did wonderfully. Praise too for the judges – they clearly enjoyed it and did a good job of making the scoring process clear.

That pretty much covers the competition, I think. If you’ve got any thoughts or questions, leave them in the comments. It was a good experience, and I hope to see a lot of you who are reading this at the competition next year – as competitors or audience, it’s well worth it.

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From → Ibrik/Cezve

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