He beat me to it. Kingseven’s blog talking about Mark Prince of Coffeegeek fame re recent post on one of his sites. People who know me, know that a lot of the time I don’t agree with what Mark has to say, not in a bad way and at least he has opinions but a lot of the time I find my self disagreeing. But like many people involved in coffee there opinions are focused on there interests, and the roaster tends to be not the most populated role in the industry in the blog world and the forum world, and I don’t know why this is so. I guess there are more Barista in the world. So I’m trying to ballance that up 🙂
Back to the post. Marks point is that a Barista should be able to make a passable shot of coffee from an average espresso machine, grinder and coffee. This is kind of Ok until you think about why would you want to do this. If you can get access to the best machine possible to you, in you professional or personal life then why wouldn’t you do this? If you can get a good grinder then surely you would want the best one available. And if you aim for mediocre or passable then that’s for me a little low. For the barista they have enough things to work against (time, employers, poor machines poor maintenance not being able to use their suppliers choice but the owners). So why should the Barista be judged on this and not being able to work with the best tools to show how good the coffee is. I’ a subscriber to Kingsevens point of view that every one involved in the production chain should be invisible and the coffee does the talking. No one is more important than the coffee. And life is too short for passable coffee, in fact passable everything. I want the best every time I can.
I must admit the big thing that bothers me about these kind of posts is that these people begin to think that the Barista is the only important person. Talks with more sensible people in the industry acknowledge the importance of everyone’s role, and as I’ve learned this year Barista competition isn’t funnily enough just about the Barista. I saw the face of farmer when Kingseven got through to the final six, and he was overjoyed. I saw the face of the importer who has worked hard to raise the quality of the UK’s coffee again so pleased. I also saw the face of the trainer coach and girlfriend (all the same person) who was in tears of joy. I also saw the face of the employer and espresso machine company who has invested time money effort and commitment to help him get there, drained tiered but pleased to have achieved so much.
And well myself it was a special moment that was worth the hours and hours and many kilo’s of coffee the joy that filled me when his name was announce was special. So when individuals say its all about the rock star barista then I get a little annoyed, yes he puts in the complete work and puts his life on hold, but so do all the other people and this is the synergy of them all coming together, otherwise we roll about in our own domains doing our own thing and no one learns.
Barista Creed: Best Machine, Best Grinder, Best Coffee