I thought it might be nice with a few days between us to look back at the super heats of Birmingham, and share with you lessons learnt. When I took this temporary role, I said I would try and bring some transparency. So here it is warts and all:
I think overall it was a great event, and I am very proud of the team that put it together. Special thanks to Sanremo who delivered the roadshow, Denise Hall for pulling together the competition strings, Chloe for sharing all the information, and being there every time I needed her, Jonathan for just fixing things without even telling me, Tim and Ben from the education committee, and of course our wonderful judges. But this is not just to be pats on the back of congratulations so lets look at what didn’t go so well…
Competitor Prep Area
This was not so good, we started with a very small space, and this slowly (no in fact quickly) turned into Chaos, people taking over huge space, people leaving rubbish and equipment everywhere, and generally, not looking after it. David from Sanremo did a great job trying to police the area, but as soon as his back was turned (to do some work), it became a real mess. I think we need to police it better, but the baristas also need to mange these spaces better. Lesson learnt.
Brewers Cup / Cup Tasters
I’ve paired these together as I think it was applicable for both. We could and should have done better with the space and the organisation. The prep areas were not good enough, and although there were many good intentions, the feet on the ground were not good enough, this will be addressed for both London Coffee Festival, and for next years. Lesson learnt.
This should be in both for me, it went well, and people liked it, but if we are going to do it then we need to have a system and a routine and someone dedicated to scoring. Those who jumped in and just got on with it, thank you, you were amazing, but next time I’d like to have people on it ready to go.
I think I’d not run this next time, while the competition was on, I think both suffered from sharing an audience (particularly the competition). But I do think the competition gained in the afternoon from an increase in audience.
Between myself, Jeremy Torz and Andrew Tucker we did a solid job. I think for the future, some more guidelines of thanking the sponsors, information on the judges and on the competition would be good. As the lead for this the blame lies firmly at my door. We will fix.
I’d like to see more educational events at these events, I think we missed a trick this year, but I’d like to incorporate for the future for sure. These are opportunities missed.
Things that went well – you didn’t just think I was going to say the bad things right ? Lots of things were right about the heat, things like…
Well done Chloe for running the show, but a SUPER well done to Simon Floyd, who gave up 4 days of his life to tweet the heck out the competition. Simon did this after being asked by the committee, and did an amazing job. I have received praise as far away as El Salvador and Australia about the quality of tweeting, and its all down to Simons hard work, thank you buddy. Also huge thanks to Kate Beard who gave up huge ammounts of her time to photograph every single competitor, dedication above and beyond the call.
I loved the fact we had more than just a competition. In 7 weeks we managed to get 5 speakers and a tamper tantrum (videos to follow too) and we put on a film with Q & A’s following John Gordon on his 2010 UKBC and WBC journey. The beers that followed after this in Brew Dog, and the fun around the competition was one of the highlights for me. Seeing baristas, organisers (and judges drinking soft drinks) a leap forwards.
What can I say, we were blessed with professional judges, who were waiting for competitors, not the other way around as its been so many times in the past. I’ve not heard one moan or groan about the judging, and this has to be a first. They were amazing machines that did all they could to help make the competition run smoothly. Special praise must go to the head judges, who stepped in at the last minute to save the day, and looked like they had done it forever. Well done Jamie and Jochem, my new super heroes.
I know this was in the part that said we could have done better, but I thought this added to the competition and is something I think we should pursue and hone, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I was told by more than one person this is the most supported heat they had seen in many a year (comparisons with the legendary London heat of 2010 were made). For me the London heat of 2010 should be what we are aiming for, and what I had in my mind, so I am very pleased others saw it too. Audience was good, people milling around and networking was good, and competitors hanging around to see others was amazing. Thank you to every one who came.
There are no pats on the back just yet though, we have Semi finals and finals to do, and I want them to be the best ever. We have done half a job.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the super heat. We will obviously have some decisions to make after the London Coffee Festival for next year. Should we do one heat again, should we maybe do three mini super heats (the names are getting sillier) or would you prefer to go back to the 7 heats of the past ? I know my personal preference is somewhere in the middle but I’m ready to have my opinions changed if you feel strongly about it, after all its your SCAE UK Chapter not mine.