My first competition

As you know, for the past 2 months I was preparing for Cuptasters. That one is quite special to me. It was my first coffee competition ever.

Running a bit late for the briefing. Soon I've found out my round consisted of a slightly intimidating company. After that, my friend has rocked the first round setting bar with 7 in 2.29. Which remained the best score until the first 8.

In the meantime, I've saturated my palate on the cupping table on the festival.

Just before my round, I was a bit stressed, but not in a paralysing way. That has changed when the clock started ticking. I struggled to cup. Shaking hands is not what you want.

Mindlessly I picked the odd ones by some random hints of convergence. Which screwed me up. Trying to loosen stress I didn't focus on what I was tasting. Also, I didn't notice the unusually high temperature. I think I've even burnt my tongue a bit.

I managed my nerves in the middle and didn't pick odd one in 4th set. I slowed down. The cups were a bit cooler now. The rest of the table was easy (3 last triangulations were correct).

In total, I scored 4 in 6.33. Not bad at all. Above my average and close my best 5. At least half and it wasn't easy.

All coffees from the same roaster. Mostly the same origin in triangulation. Differences as subtle as farm, process, variety.

The competition is truly about sensory skills. You can't just guess. Psychological aspect (audience, photographers, timekeepers, judges) is a part of that, but nor more than 20%.

It's possible to zoom in, but I was quite distracted and full of nerves. When the timekeeper shouted 5 min has passed I found myself calculating how much is left and whether my pace is ok.

Temperature screwed me up as well. Usually, I cupped cooler cups. I could have made up for that with patience.

Next time I wouldn't rush. Get control over my nerves, keep a steady hand and be careful of temperature. Zoom in, ignore ambient.

All in all, I think I freaked out, but my result is absolutely satisfying. I wasn't last. More experienced people freaked out even more.

Overconfidence is a bad thing, I didn't have to pick straight away.

Well, next year.

As for now, I'm already a competitor. It's pretty amazing.


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