This was the only word that I have been really wanting to say since the last 2017 Australian national brewers cup competition was finished with a small trophy for the 3rd place winner on my hand. In the 2017 competition, I honestly thought it could be my last chance to compete because I poured out all my energy, everything I could go into the competition. I was very well prepared and presented super well. It was even better than I was doing in every practice. When Ross Quail, the emcee, called my name for the third place winner, I was very happy but disappointed in myself. Since then, the question has come out of my mind and let me keep asking myself ‘What was the difference between myself and the winner?’
(Isaac, myself and Alex in 2018 Central regional brewers cup)
I have asked myself the same question ‘What is the point that I have to improve?’ until the regional competition began. I was not really sure whether I could get a good result or not. I was not even confident to be in the top 12. At that time, I was lucky enough to get help from many friends around me, even the other competitors and their coach. And finally, I got my first ever trophy of the first place in my life. It was an incredible moment.
(me while competing in the compulsory round)
The first challenge for me was the compulsory service. The way I practised was pretty simple. I got so many different types of a small retail bag of coffee. Then, gave me only 25 minutes to calibrate. So, it was like, brewing, tasting, brewing, tasting and brewing and tasting…… I could not really count how many the coffees were but it was definitely more than 100 coffees.
Once I was able to have confidence in myself on brew techniques, I started to build up my routine and final presentation.
(me while practising in the hotel)
This time, I focused on to provide the best coffee experience. It was a combined theme of the best experience of the coffee and the experience of the best coffee. I put some tiny details in many spots of my presentation. For example, judges usually do not have enough time to write down what competitors say. So I asked them to write down important pieces of information at the beginning of my routine which made judges be more relaxed during my speech.
(backstage of the Australian Coffee Championship Finals on its last day)
Finally, the final round of the Australian brewers cup was on. Everyone was so focused, concentrated and very serious about what they were doing. I was the first competitor of the day which was not really great for the result but I just had to do. So….
(me while presentation at the stage)
I could say that I did so much better than I did last year. It was an even better performance than I have ever done. The coffee tasted amazing, routine went fantastic and everything was more than great except the fact that I was the first competitor which made me a bit worrying after I finished all and made me feel that I was not lucky enough. But I could say, “I have done my 150%, I’ve never ever done better than this!”
Now, everything is over. No regrets are remaining in my mind. I still think that I have done so much better I could do. Maybe, this is the reward for me this time, I think.
(Sarah, Alex, Isaac, Harry, Devin, Heath, Archie and me; from left to right)
(we were the only competitors who took a photo together before the comp, how cool is that?)
(Sam is not only a coach for the guys, but also teaches us how to dab)
(besties gathered in the final again)
(my selfie while the judges, Lauren the head judge, Andy, Nicole and Merryn the sensory judges were scoring my coffee)
Now I have come to reconsider whether I compete again or not. Also, I have come to rethink what the reason I am competing is. I will be so happy if I could find the reason why I keep competing. But I will also be happy if I could not find it. Then I’ll be there to help someone. Because this is the industry what I love to be in, the people I love to work with and the thing that I love to do. So…..thanks, friends!
photos were taken by J.Roh of Black Water Issue and Myself