I catch a wince at 2:22 — Ganger is already flustered by his routine. His tamp? It’s hard to tell. Thick deep microfoam tops his cappuccinos — he seems super competent but there’s a little romance lacking in this presentation.

Chris explains he’s updosing and pulling 3/4 oz ristretto shots to maximize the body of his single origin espresso, the origin of which is inaudible to me from where I’m standing and due to the constant soundtrack of covers of “The Final Countdown” and “Freak Out”. Espresso is served in pottery.

His signature drink is savory: salted butter, rosemary being cooked down. He adds honey. I start to get hungry.

Another version of “The Final Countdown”. This one’s really annoying. 11:10 and he’s still cookin’ up that honey.

The sig drinks come out and must’ve been hot as heck, since the one I would taste minutes later was still superheated. At 14:57 Ganger calls time, and oh yes, there’s the kazoo version of “Final Countdown” again. He tells Nick Cho in the post-performance interview that he has 45 minutes of continuous cover versions of that song.

I’d write more but as Nick kills time onstage I can hear him explain “…it’s kind of like the Japanese version of ‘What up, G-homey?'”? I wonder what this experience is like for the layperson in the audience. Two more competitors left, then a little talk by Scott Rao, and then the results.

One Response to “NERBC Day Two Finalist Four: Chris Ganger”

  1. Navin

    Regarding the layperson’s experience:

    I am not sure how well I fit the “layperson” category, since I read the coffee forums and blogs like this one, am at least familiar with the names of the people involved in these events, have prior knowledge of the basic structure of a barista competition, etc.
    Also, I should mention that I only watched the finals, so I don’t know how things went on Friday.

    However, based on the reactions of my family members who accompanied me and other audience members, it seems that a spectator’s experience was heavily dependent on whether one found Nick Cho’s sense of humor appealing or not. This did not surprise me much, since as far as I could tell, there wasn’t much else to see or hear from the audience, especially from a layperson’s perspective.

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