Dublin. Home of U2, Guiness, The Script, Paddy AND the World Barista Championship (WBC) 2016. From June 22-25, the coffee world gathered in the heart of Dublin to experience the coffee event of the year. As Baristas and Judges from all over the world made their way to Dublin to participate in the prestigious championship, I packed my most comfortable shoes and made my final preparations to be one of the 240 volunteers at the week long event. Questions, check. Access to the internet, check. iPhone charger – oops knew I forgot something! A small hurdle in what was to be one of the most active, exciting, information filled, exhausting, memorable coffee experiences I have had to date.
Day 1: The adventure started with a little detour through Dublin in order to get to the venue, the RDS. I reached the venue a little late, went through the check-in, grabbed my cool t-shirt and badge and ran to the WBC area. I realised I had left home without THE most important thing – COFFEE! And we all know that a day doesn’t really start until you have that amazing first cup. Let’s just say, that by 11:00 I was desperate!
I was stationed on the stage which meant that I was surrounded by the smell and site of the worlds best coffee. It was my job to assist in clearing the coffee stations as quickly as possible, and the biggest challenge was how do I sneak in a taste of the espresso without the crowd and the cameras catching me?!? Between you and me, I did have a few teeny tiny sips, until finally I was sent on a coffee run. It’s like it was meant to be, as when I was at the coffee bar ordering, I heard the familiar sounds of Aussie English. I suddenly missed home and almost threw myself at the 3 quite handsome Aussies that were standing there ordering. Turns out that 2 of them were The Coffee Man Film dudes – Jeff and Roland! Needless to say that a friendship instantly formed in the true Aussie way.
With a smile back on my face, I went back and continued with the important job I had to do on the stage. Although I was tempted to grab the microphone a few times, I made sure that I was focused to work with my little team to make those work stations sparkle.
Day 1 was filled with learning, excitement and emotion. I was sharing the room with world class Baristas and coffee industry legends. I had witnessed the buzz and stress of back stage, the heat and emotion of competition, and of course also met a few coffee Diva’s (or is that Divo, as they were male) – there was no mucking around with these Baristas.
By Day 2 I felt right at home! I had learnt from the morning before and started the day right, with a coffee, and then decided to make it all about fun! I had a quick chat to the participating Baristas in between the competitor rounds, got a chance to take in the faces in the crowd and even got to clear what seems to have been a million items from Italian Barista, Angelo Segoni. I was becoming a legend on the stage in a completely different way, as a coffee blogging volunteer.
So what were my top 6 highlights?
- Meeting and volunteering with lovely, passionate coffee freaks and pros from around the world
- The emotions felt in the room when competitors came on stage. For me, when Australian, Swiss and Italian Baristas competed
- The Coffee Bar – of course! oh and the coffee village where I got to taste some amazing coffee
- The tourqoise Simonelli coffee machine
- Meeting coffee legends Sasa Sestic, Hidenori Maruyama and film makers Roland and Jeff
- My WBC t-shirt! Love it.
With Dublin WBC over, it was time to enjoy the city with friends, before heading back home to Zürich where life’s adventures continue…. until the next cup..