Well, day one of the Coffee Fest Chicago show is done. The competitions have been awesome. The Millrock Latte Art competition is right next to the GLRBC. In fact, they are sharing audio for the events. The show floor is kinda cool. Not too many seriously interesting booths, but the ones that are cool, ARE COOL. ESI has their booth filled with Franke and Marzocco gear. We played a bit with the GB5 they have, but they've paired it with a Swift. Not so cool. The GS3 is there... the third one I've played with... and ironically, still different than either of the other two. Justin Tiesel and I had some fun with the thing, but like Klaus has said on coffeed, the steaming is questionable.
Zoka has their standard booth up... Clover and Linea putting out great stuff. During the later half of the day, competitor and past USBC finalist, Steve Fritzen, was pulling shots.
Next to the Zoka booth was one of my favorite places to be. The Barista Magazine booth. They have an awesome new shirt I encourage you all the check out and buy. Sarah and Ken are some of my favorite people and I am very glad they are here.
There is no Clover booth, but if you hang out long enough at Intelligentsia's booth, you'll probably be able to say hello to Anastasia. She is here serving up some great stuff. The booth also features an FB-80 and some great Black Cat. Oh, and Major props to Intelly's new packaging. I was floored. I really really really like it. No joke. If there was anything on the floor that had me impressed, it was that. Tomorrow night is the big Intelly party and I am stoked to see the roasting works.
I spent some quality time at the GLRBC and I was fairly impressed by what I saw. This was the 7th competition I have seen and each time it gets better and better. Only two of today's 13 competitors looked like rookies. Hardly anyone went over time. It was smooth. Mike Phillips from Intelligentsia... in all honesty, has some serious advantages training with his team and just working for Intelly... but, he still did a knock out job. First competition... hardly! He looked great and I wish him the best. Justin Tiesel rocked his presentation. Not as fast as when I saw him in Kansas City, but great non the less. I was able to taste a component of his sig drink yesterday up at the store... and it was awesome. I really hope he advances.
Speaking of advancing, Nick Cho will be moving into the finals of the latte art rock out! Even Doug Zell is in this one... he didn't advance, but he did a much better job than I'd expect more head hancho's to do. Honestly, I forgot who else moved on, but give me a break... there's much happening. Well, we're about to head out for the parties. Till tomorrow! Viva Espresso! Viva Chicago! Viva Barista!