So I guess I have to get back to work huh?
April 28, 2009
It has been sufficiently long enough since the end of the WBC to do the proper things of thanking and congratulating those that are due…
First off, congratulations to the 2009 World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies. For anyone who has meet him the only thing surprising about his winning is that that it goes against the pessimism we all have about good people getting to the top. He is the definition of a genuine person and from what I saw is certainly a skilled coffee professional not to be doubted. I wish him all the luck and fortitude of strength he will need in this coming year to try and maintain the good life I know that he prefers.
A close second to congratulating Gwilym is doing the same to the other 50 competitors. As is always the case some folks were obviously better prepared than others but the overall caliber was certainly impressive. I sadly did not get to see as many performances as I would have liked and am basing all of this off of tasting coffee back stage and talking shop with everyone, but in those experiences it was easy to see the over all passion. I left the weekend wanting the chance to go work in a dozen different shops to see a true picture of these professionals in action.
With the congratulating done I now need to say thank you to some folks. I am unquestionably a lucky man when it comes to the support I have in my company. Doug Zell is pushing forward a revolution in the way a company should treat its staff with how well he supports and invests in us. Thank you for that. The rest of the Intelly machine from our roasters to our production team to our west coast all stars to my “nose to the grindstone” Chicago shop comrades, thank you for putting up with and helping along all this hoopla. One fellow in particular, Charles Babinski deserves singling out due his enormous effort invested. When I trained he trained, when I stayed up rethinking each step he stayed up thinking about what I might have forgotten, when I got sick he got sick. This last month he proved how valuable a coach and team mate could be. Thank you sir.
Being on home turf I also had the support of an entire country it seemed. My folks made the drive from Michigan to be there which was certainly special to be able to share something like this with them. So many coffee icons I have looked up to ranging from my favorite barista Scott Lucey to the dozens of other folks I have learned from over the years were there cheering me on and offering to help in anyway I needed. Two folks in particular here however stand out… Everyone’s favorite photo blogger and international coffee reporter Liz Clayton came aboard the 2009 US barista team as our official press ambassador. She also got us food, drove us around and pretty much kept the team together in times of weakness. This woman is fantastic and you should all love her. The other person is Atlanta’s very own coffee superstar Danielle Glasky of Octane. With her busy schedule of being a barista buddy for 3 countries, running multiple workshops, working shifts at her bar, throwing parties and winning a global latte art throwdown she was still able to find time to fill in any blank we needed. Danielle is the future of coffee and anyone thinking otherwise best be ready cause shes gonna school all of us one day soon.
There are some really neat things just on the horizon for Intelly and I am hoping to get a chance to be involved in them. If and when something worthwhile gets “declassified” I promise to put it here first. Here is to an exciting year folks.