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The boy done good

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The Extract team headed out in force to watch Callum compete in the semi-finals of the UK Barista Championships 2017 and progress through to the finals on the Sunday. After months of hard preparation he placed 4th in the UK. We managed to sit him down to ask a few questions about what it was like to compete and how he feels about the brilliant result.

Table set

callum prep

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO ENTER UKBC?

I love the concept of competition. Great people who’re extremely passionate about a subject they love and then show casing it at its best. Its something that always drives an industry forward. The events always get a great crowd of friends and people in the industry you respect and can learn from.

HOW DID YOU PREPARE THIS YEAR?

Practice, practice, practice. I’m lucky I have a fantastic team of talented individuals who help me with my routine and my coffee. They’re willing to come into the roastery on weekends or stay after hours to watch my routine and look for faults and listen to me repeat the same words. Extract is full of people with amazing palates like Ashlee, Dave and I took full advantage of them. Everyone took time out from their days to come and listen to me rehearse my routine, taste the coffee and give feedback. Some are more brutal than others…but that’s how you make it better.

The best way I learn is from making mistakes. It’s what keeps me focused never getting too complacent. On the day I’m probably the worst person to be around but once the routine is done and beer is in hand I really unwind and the adrenaline leaves the system.

HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT CHOOSING YOUR COFFEE?

I did a cupping with Finca Santa Teresa for an account a while back. There was one coffee that blew me away as soon as I tasted it. It was the best coffee I had ever tasted, and I knew that other people could feel the same way too. Afterwards I spoke with Dave, I knew that would be a great competition coffee. Dave said to just ask them, so Callum I emailed Finca Santa Teresa to say I wanted to enter UKBC with their coffee and they agreed.

Once I had the coffee, I trusted Ashlee to roast and make it the best it could be. I just handed her the coffee and she did what she does best.

HOW DID YOU SPEND YOUR TIME ON THE DAY

I got through it with lot’s of cake! Thanks to Hart’s for keeping us all fuelled with a box of cakes and pastries for us all. I felt better for the final than the semi’s. I think having been through the routine, with the judges the day before made it easier to relax into things. But on the Sunday for the final, on the stage waiting for the judges to come out, I had a complete mind blank. Luckily, as soon as I said “time” it all came back. I really wasn’t sure I had remembered everything I needed to say, but it all flooded back. It was easier to deliver the routine and the judges smiling really helped.

I didn’t spend much time watching other competitors routines. It’s amazing how fast the day goes when you are competing. I did watch Will’s on the Saturday and thought it was a cool routine and I loved his music. I tried not to watch many because you listen to what people say, and start wondering if you should have something like that in your routine. I didn’t want to start convincing myself I should change things that didn’t need it. I just paced around and listened to music to chill out.

Callum UKBC SCA

Callum UKBC SCA

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE RESULT

I’m pretty happy with 4th. It’s only my second time competing. To get into the semi’s is a great achievement, to get to the finals is something else. I couldn’t be happier to have gotten that far. It makes all those hours that I’ve put in feel worth it and hopefully my wife feels the same way too now…

AND FINALLY, WILL YOU COMPETE AGAIN?

Definitely, I’ve learnt a lot from getting to the finals and I think it’s one of those things where the more you do it the more confident you become. I even felt that way from the semi’s on Saturday going into the final on Sunday. During the final, I felt less nervous especially doing my latte art pour, I did much better patterns. I’ll definitely do it again and have loads of great feedback from the judges to work on for next time.

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