EDIT! Word on the street (or rather, the twitter) has it that his appearance may be postponed. I’ll be keeping a close eye out for details!
USBC Champion Mike Philips is scheduled to appear on Oprah this Friday!
I’m not a huge fan of Oprah, but I am a huge fan of publicity for the profession! Here’s hoping it’s about baristas and the competitions, and not quite so much about Intelligentsia. Sure, they deserve their due – he does work for them, they ARE a Chicago company, and she’s, of course, from Chicago… BUT Mike paid his own way to the USBC, and started his profession in the home. He represents US baristas now, not just Intelly
Maybe now Food Network will open its eyes and realize barista competitions are cooler than styrofoam cakes. Maybe. Oprah’s clout is scary.
I also realized I haven’t said anything about our champ since the USBC results were posted. Shame on me! I admit, I was definitely wowed by him at the GLRBC, and surprised to see he didn’t go further in the finals. His mad scientist treatment of the coffee was really impressive. Splitting the spro for the signature drink? Whoa man, my mind was blown. I was thrilled to see that he made it to Portland on his own steam, end even more excited to see him get into the finals. There was much Scott Lucey buzz, and while I also appreciated Scott’s performance and skills, something in me really wanted to see Mike take it. So cheers for Mike!
It did bring up a lot of discussion about how the judging is handled – not to the effect that people don’t think he deserved to win (oh, he most definitely did), but seeing so many Intelliristas in the finals was tough on the audience, I think. I’m sure people will accuse me of being anti-Intelly, or believing they didn’t earn their way in – I don’t believe that at all. But I do believe, from my very brief experience as a judge, that a lot could be done to improve what goes on in the scoresheets. Judges could be better trained (I was somewhat surprised to see people judging at the nationals who’d never done it before… at the regional level is one thing, but nationals are something different entirely.) They could also be better compensated. I’m sure if the SCAA wanted to put more emphasis on the judging, and in return for the judges’ time, provided transportation to various events, there’d be a much more hardcore pool to access. I also have to agree with folks who’ve been saying tech should be worth a little more than it is, to balance with sensory.
But anyhow! Enough of that! Everyone set your DVRs to record on Friday!