Learning as fast as we can!

(Just so you know… I’m posting tons more photos over at Barista Magazine’s Facebook page… check ’em out!)

So it has been a busy day of education over here in Oslo! After some heady lectures from George Howell and Robert Thoresen this morning, we threw ourselves back into brainiac mode after lunch with a lecture about basic taste and sensory skills, by Paul Songer. It was an intense discussion ”lots of great questions followed.

The charming Paul Songer
Paul fields questions from the eager audience.

And with all that information under their belts, the attendees and barista teams jumped into a sensory skills test to see how good their palates really are.

Team Finland gets into the sensory skills test.
Members of Team Sweden confer about the sensory skills test.
Stephen shows the actual sensory skills exam.

But the day is far from over! After a short break, we regrouped for a lecture by Jaime Duque of Agrado in Colombia. Jaime is hugely knowledgeable about agronomy and production, so this was a real treat. I encourage you to check out his video by Zachary on this blog when we’ve posted it (soon).

Tom Owen of Sweet Maria's takes detailed notes during Jaime's lecture.

At the end of Jaime’s lecture, participants were invited to the cupping tables again to do a visual analysis and cupping of defects, which is always a super interesting exercise. Each table was provided with a tray of green coffee in parchment each with a defect, and they had o identify them and become familiar with their appearance as well as scent, before cupping. Great workshop, Jaime!

Meanwhile, back downstairs, the five teams were at work on a different project. Remember how I said yesterday that there were 5 teenagers from Oslo who would be working with the teams during the competition? Well, on Saturday, those teenagers will have to perform a barista competition for the crowd ”and they’ve never pulled shots before.

So the teams were working with their teens in the espresso room, which is equipped with five shiny new Dalla Corte machines, to learn how to make shots, steam milk, devise a signature drink ”basically the stuff it took these Nordic competitors many years to master.

But they were so patient with the teens, and the teens were so eager to learn the barista skills from these barista team members. It was so awesome to see!

Team Finland and their young barista trainee.
Learning to tamp with Team Denmark.
Team Iceland with their barista student.
Team Norway during the training.
Team Sweden imparts their collective knowledge.

But guess what? The day is still not over! This is the Nordic Barista Cup, after all, and we spend all day and evening with each other ”it’s just the best, most intense way for us to get to know each other and learn from one another. So soon, we will be picked up by buses to head to the beach! There is an historic building there called Hvalstrand where we will be treated to an amazing dinner ”10 r so courses of traditional Norwegian food (and that includes whale. Yes, I said whale.) paired with many different Norwegian beers. How cool is that??

Zachary and I will be doing some more interviews and photographing, so stay tuned tomorrow for my blog updates, and videos from Zachary!

About Sarah 934 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.