They’re the people that tend to blend into the periphery. Almost unseen, yet crucial to the accomplishment of the task. These talented, busy individuals do so much, most of it not visible to the untrained eye. This is my tribute.
Fans of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series….relax. Dave is not sporting the blue eyes typical of the Arrakeen spice addict, this is just about the only way you’ll see him during a regional barista competition, eyes eerily reflecting the blue of his trusty Dell sceen. Dave sits behind this laptop all day, for each day of competition, tallying the judges’ results, and keeping vigil over the various appurtenances of the caffeine-imbibing judges. Most folks never see him, but without him, competition results would take WAY LONGER!
Marcus Boni, is quite possibly the busiest person I have ever met. Multitasking experts should do a study of Marcus, just to learn what they’ve been doing wrong all these years. Marcus is the “James Brown” of the Barista Competitions, in that he is the “Busiest Man in Coffee Show Bizness”. None of these competitions could take place without his organizational skills and business acumen. How does he do it, you ask? Simple….KANGOO!
Can you possibly imagine all the things that can go wrong at barista competitions? Me, either…but I bet Amber can. Amber rides herd on all the over-caffeinated volunteers who help with the little nitty-gritty details of barista competitions…like dishwashing, time-keeping, table-bussing, judge-fetching, schedule-keeping, etc. I’m convinced the list is MUCH longer than I realize! She’s kinda Marcus’ “Girl Friday”, catching the things that come up and dealing with them, or passing them on if necessary. Oh, and I think she’s the one that gets to decide if the barista presses a red, green, or gold star to start their presentation.
Last, but never least, our head judges, not all of whom are pictured here. Heather Ringwood of Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters also serves as a head judge. Now, please forgive the slightly fuzzy photo…I had to shoot it offhand from all the way across the competition venue. These fine people make sure the tech judges are seeing everything that happens during competition, and that the sensory judges are staying calibrated on competitors’ beverages. They are there for the barista’s benefit, providing continuity to ensure fair and equitable assessment of both the drinks served, as well as the service offered during the presentation. It has been my HONOR to work with these wonderful individuals, and I have learned so much about coffee from them.
There are others, perhaps, of whom I did not get a picture. Alas, they were too effective about blending into the background! Nevertheless…if I missed mentioning someone, perhaps drop their name in the comments, so they get some recognition!