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Week 1 of Competition Season 2024

For the past few weeks, the whole team has been focused on preparing Luhle and Fanie for the KZN Regional Barista Competition. The first round of competition has been tentatively scheduled for November. (stay tuned on our Instagram for an update so you can tune in to watch).

This will be Luhle’s first year being a competitor on the barista stage. He worked closely with Fanie last year through his competition season and is ready to throw his hat in the ring.

In 2022, Fanie’s competition season wrapped up with a 3rd at nationals and then a fruitful trip to the World Barista Championships in 2023.

Katie, Dario and Fanie travelled to Athens, Greece to watch the World Barista Competition (among many other fun things). We learnt a lot. Being able to witness and absorb the presentations of the best baristas in the world has given us a very different approach to competition in 2023. We’re in it for the long haul and we’re excited to see what the Bluebird team can bring to the competition stage in 2023.

We were able to be a small part of last week of preparations of the Ukrainian Barista Champion, Ukrainian Brewers Cup Champion and the German Brewers Cup Champion in the week leading up to the 2023 World competitions. The difference that this has made to our 2023 competition approach is massive and we are thrilled to be able to bring what we’ve learnt back to the roastery. We were honoured to be welcomed into the fold of Ruslan and Vlad Demonenko and Erik Freudenberg in that last week.

Fanie was able to meet Pepe Jijon, the producer of his (tentatively) chosen competition coffee. Being able to talk to the producer of his coffee allows him to tell it’s story in the way that it was intended. From a technical perspective, it is invaluable to be able to completely understand the processing approach and farm conditions of the coffee by getting to talk to the producer. Additionally, the connection with the coffee’s producer creates a sense of responsibility and gives a greater perspective about the effects of the work being done on the competition stage.

Last week, Fanie and Luhle got to present the first drafts of their sets to a crowd at a Barn Owl Coffee Club meeting. The sets were well executed and the feedback around the coffees was overwhelmingly positive.

The presentations allowed us to see exactly where work needs to be done. Giving us time to go back to the drawing board and reassess. Ultimately, a set needs to exist in it’s best form on a stage, not on a piece of paper or alone in a room. Practice in front of crowds has been key to our competition approach so far. We look forward to a fun season of competiton.

This is entry one of the competition updates! Stay tuned for more.

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