London Coffee Festival April 7th-10th 2016
Yuko Inoue is the Head of Coffee at Timberyard and we are lucky enough here at Climpson & Sons to work with her. Dubbed the Silent assassin, Yuko entered the Coffee Masters alongside 15 other competitors and over 4 big days and a number of knockout rounds, she made it to the final round against Ben Morrow. Here is her experience of the Coffee Masters.
Training for the Coffee Masters was something I could incorporate into my day to day as all the disciplines, except "the blend", were daily barista routines. I did trainings during the day while I was working behind the bar at Timberyard. This was especially helpful for 'the order', 'latte art', and 'the brewing' disciplines. I spent time on the weekends for my Signature Drink making it countless ways to get it to taste the best I could.
The most challenging event for me had to be 'the origin' round. We were presented with 6 coffees and we had 5 minutes to taste the coffees and allocate them to a specific origin. I found it a lot more difficult to taste and decipher where they are from than I had expected. This is something that I will work on more to develop my knowledge. My goal is to be able to visit origins around the world, to meet producers and learn the coffee from each specific region.
My favourite event would have to be ‘The Blend’! Even though I have never blended coffee in my life, I was looking forward to making my own blend. I had no idea how to blend, so I know I would have done it very differently to the way the roasters would do, but I was happy with the blend I made and presented to the judges.
Will I enter the coffee masters again? Yes! All the disciplines (except blending) are daily things that I as a barista do. It's good for me to know where my skills are and you can learn a lot from the other competitors. I had to learn how to handle the pressure and stress of the competition whilst up there on stage. I didn't enjoy the stress last year and it affected on me in a bad way (if you remember I knocked over my milk jug and spilt milk all over the floor!). This year I learnt how to stay in a good mind-set and motivate myself. All the competitors were so passionate about coffee and it is a great way to bring these people from all over the world into one space. I would love to see more people who love coffee and share the experiences next year!