It was a bit of a late start on Friday as either people were running late or they were all at the pub next door getting beers in. However, just on 7:30 we had a full house again with people ramming into our Eastcastle street store to watch 16 brave and fearless baristas competing in Round Three to get into the finals.
We were honoured to have another incredible trio of judges for this round as lead judge and superstar photographer Glenn Watson kept everyone in line and he was joined by the current UK Barista Champion and ranked 9th barista in the world, Dan Fellows from Origin coffee alongside one of the originators of the London Coffee scene, former owner of The Espresso room and still heavily involved in the SCAE events and a trainer at the London School of Coffee, Ben Townsend.
So we started a bit late, but we dropped the lights and kicked off once again with Underworld Live at the Roundhouse for tunes. The standard was again very, very high and even though the judges are amongst the best in the world, they still had a mammoth task deciding, especially when it came to how to hold the cup when you are pouring. Watch out for this if you are competing, watch out for it general. If you are reading this and work in coffee, it was a great reminder tat part of your training program is to discuss and teach the how's and why's of how to hold a cup - no fingers on the rim!
In the end, after two intense rounds, these guys got through to the finals.
Alex from Originb
Zain from Saint Espresso
Zoe from Prufrock
Nick form Coffee Lab
This week we are again honoured with our judges as Glenn returns to be lead judge and is joined by a former manager of Workshop espresso, a barista at Noble espresso, a writer for Sprudge and the winner of #Smackdown16, Nico Halliday. As we write we do not yet have a third judge, but will have confirmation by the time we kick off.
Competitors this week include:
Daniel from Kaffeine
Edgar fromThe Attendant
Two mystery baristas from Curators
Pariwatan from Sodexho
Matt and Dan from Artigiano
Dan from Press London
Stephane from saint
Two mystery barista from Second Shot Coffee
Two mystery baristas from Prufrock
Kat - Freelance barista
Dan form Baxter Story
Once again, we have some great photos up online for your to see all the action so please check out these ones here and do share them across all your social media channels with #smackdown16.
It is also a great indication of the depth of talent and number of baristas in London and across the Home Counties that we filled all 64 places a week before the heats started and still have 15 people in the waiting list in case of any drop outs.
Unfortunately 64 is the maximum number we can have to make it a short, sharp competition, so look out if you missed out for next September when #smackdown17 is on.
Have a great week and if you are competing on Friday, please be sure to check in when you arrive.