Monday I was involved in a little drink competition involving five local coffeeshops and one local news magazine that pretends to be NUVO. When I arrived at the store, my sense of confidence at having the homefield advantage immediately plummets. The place is crawling with camera people, photographers, video cameras. Lights are set up, every person in the store is someone related to a competing barista (and there are a lot of people in the store), the judges are watching us intently, and one young man is showing everyone competing why our set-up at the store is wrong.
We’ll call this guy Dick. Because he was a massive dick. He was rude, abrasive, aggressive, and entirely too full of himself.
The competition was split up in to three parts: creativity, speed, and knowledge of coffee. We each made a drink of our choosing, presenting it to the judges, then made a cappuccino to their specifications as fast as we could, and finally wrote down as many coffee roasting/regions as we could in 30 seconds.
Now, people, I know I can be kind of hard on myself sometimes. And I know I simultaneously have kind of a big ego. But I am not exaggerating when I tell you all four of those kids cheated. Dick made his drink twice because he didn’t like the presentation. One kid we’ll call Waldo made his cappuccino in a 16-ounce mug rather than a 12-ounce one, which should have disqualified him from the competition. No one steamed their milk to the right temperature, and none of them timed their espresso shots.
I was the only one who did that part right, and I still won. But, you ask, who won overall? Who’s going to be listed in this shitty paper as the best barista in Indianapolis? Not me.
The guy who had, sitting with the judges, two of his friends and his own mother. Were those people actually judges? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
The fact that I didn’t win is not only an incredible bruise to my ego, it’s incredibly humiliating. The fact that these kids cheated to win, the fact that Dick won – despite being a huge douchebag whose obnoxious behavior should have pissed off the judges (unless they were related to him, in which case they probably thought he was really cute) – and Waldo was the runner-up – desptite the fact that he won neither the speed nor the knowledge portion – makes me never want to read this stupid, stupid magazine again. I don’t even want my picture to be in there. I’m serious. That isn’t modesty talking. That’s pride. I don’t want to be pictured in there as someone who can’t even place in the dumbest, most inefficient competition in Indianapolis.
Of course, if I’d won, would I be saying the same thing? Maybe. It was pretty much a joke. But what bothers me is that the readers of this magazine won’t know that. You all should demand a recount. Or ask NUVO to do the same thing, only make it fair this time.