The past few weeks have been awfully busy. Other than the usual working schedule at Origin I have also been preparing for the WBC. Although I cannot reveal too much before I compete, I would like to share some experiences leading up to the competition.
Working under pressure
I’ve never been one to start a project months in advance. Call me lazy or unprepared, it’s not something that comes naturally to me. In the build up to this competition I’ve realized that this is completely fine. There are many opinions on timing and practice schedules before comp but it is most important to incorporate a medium that works for you. Yes, there is a fine line between being unprepared and well prepared but at the end of the day it is the competitor’s responsibility to distinguish this difference and implement accordingly.
The last three months have shown me the strength of community in our South African coffee industry. There has been so much support in the build-up and in so many different ways I cannot express my gratitude enough to everyone. No man is an island. And a journey to the WBC cannot be undertaken alone. With all the factors to take into considering when competing in another country (I thought competing in Johannesburg was hard enough) it helps to know that I have a strong team of support that will be helping be throughout.
I was very fortunate to receive some international training and spend time in cafes abroad getting opinions and advice on competition. It definitely helped having more seasoned competitors guide me and provide a different view on certain aspects. This fresh perspective really guided me to the point of completion of my set which was a big relief.
This was not easy at all. Albeit my first time competing on the international stage I don’t think the coffee choice will ever be easy. Several cuppings, delayed arrival samples, broken sample bags you name it. I try to learn a lesson from all the experiences thus far and this was definitely one of them. “Choose the coffee you feel is best,” I was told by a certain coffee professional that I really admire. This made me feel at ease but I was still caught between certain samples. Collective feedback and certain other aspects finally contributed to my final decision. But I will only know if it was the correct choice after the competition.