Joie-de-vivre is hard to summon at 5:00am, but coffee people are nothing if not dreamers and thus the world’s most tired and ridiculous party took place on Sunday morning in the generously donated, eerily darkened confines of Gimme! Coffee‘s Brooklyn shop (a.k.a. this journalist hack’s home office) to watch the World Barista Championship over faltering (ours usually) live video feed from Copenhagen.
Our cheering loyalties were with those whom we knew personally — Mike Yung, Canadian Barista Champion, and Stephen Morrissey, Irish champ now residing in I believe Manila — and we laid in supplies for the party in hopes to send good luck to these guys and the other four amazing finalists from our faraway seats in Brooklyn.
Of course, if you’re going to a party at 0500 you should probably just not even bother going to bed at all the night before, or so I managed to convince two people anyway, and hero points are awarded to Ed and Amber for their stamina in carousing with me even well after the others had peeled off to take their pre-party naps. Were the shots of Irish whiskey proffered by a stranger at 0130 a sign of the universe’s favorite contender? We would soon see. A predawn phone call to Copenhagen yielded the latest WBC gossip from Judge Barnett, who had the pleasure of talking to four or five intoxicated people in New York City before his morning swim in the elliptical pool at his Danish hotel, and soon we were off to wake up Mike White and plug in the pancake machine on Lorimer Street.
In between the A/V tinkering and griddle tending and plant cleaning was a surreal little capsule of sleepy cameraderie — it was no epic USBC play-by-play recreation, but it was ours. While a few people slept on the soft benches of the store, the rest of us blinked groggily over pancakes and waved at our friends watching back at us from Copenhagen and San Francisco. A startling few people showed up seemingly awake, which was disorienting to say the least, but we pulled out whatever oomph we could, perking up with wonderment when actual customers began to arrive at 7:00 am ordering coffees and wondering why so many of us were violating the “no laptops on the counter” rule.
But despite the hazy cast and wee numbers, simply being there felt like being a part of something. When Mike Yung’s siphon pot failed, we collectively, sleepily winced. Was it because the maple syrup I brought turned out to be from New York State instead of Canada?
At least the butter was Irish, and indeed, so was the morning’s inimitable winner Mr. Morrissey, revealed in an amazing and emotional announcement from emcee James Hoffmann (which the remaining awake few of us watched, by that time, at home from the comfort of our own beds.) Wherever you hung out with us, thank you for this. Celebrating community is sometimes about simply being present — and whether you are representing in a ridiculous context of flying all the way to Copenhagen, sitting in a coffee shop at 5:00am not actually drinking any coffee at all, lying with your laptop in bed in Portland or Greenpoint, awaiting text message updates on bar in Valencia Street or on your Greyhound bus back to Canada, or reading this very rundown at all — you were there. And that’s why we’re all in it anyway, right?