April 5, 2007
In our judges conference chambers, we often shake our heads at the easy points that are missed by competitors. Some of this can be blamed for their unfamiliarity with the rules, but everything is actually written in the Canadian Barista Championship rules sheet.
“Clean work area at the start” is surprisingly, rarely scored high. Maybe it’s the pressure of trying to get everything organized during prep time, but we technical judges are amazed at the amount of coffee grounds, and water drops left on the table, under the machine, on the machine.. etc..
Even worse are grinds on the forks of the grinder, or grinds in the doser throat.. Portafilters that have pucks left in them, or are unwiped are automatic deductions.
Dirty rags, ( bring another set of cloths to use during warmup, so you start with all clean cloths), and my biggest pet peeve, dirty, lactose encrusted steam pitchers are typical mistakes. Give them a good scrubbing with either a bryllo pad or some sort of cleaner. This is something you should do regularly at your cafes anyways, let alone just for competition. And make sure they are dry, and empty at the start.
Oh.. and don’t forget the drip tray, and steam wand. We look at everything.
Easy sensory points that are often missed are things like all 4 drinks being served at the same time… same time means just that, at the same time. Don’t finish and serve two, and then start on the next two.
Make sure all accessories are available, and remember to wipe the little dribbles and spills on the saucers and cups.
Who knows, these easy points could be the deciding factor in a close competition.