(fyi, these posts will all be rushed. i’m writing them on brent’s computer while he struts his vest and onetsuka tiger sneaks around the show floor. thanks sport! check out for more thorough blogging to my right…)

i arrive around 11am and do some flower arranging with shar griffith (flowers can’t be sabotaged, right?) on behalf of the homie lucey. the A/V crew is setting up and bullshitting about chicago, and they seem very excited at the number of midwesterners in today’s finals. i am too, after a little jawing backstage with the madcap kids and chris demarse. if you count willbur and pedde’s time in minneapolis, it’s a pretty midwest-heavy finals at the heart of it…sorry pacific northwesters. i’m sure you make coffee really well.

this morning’s fourth machine is an ex-brooklyn awesomefest, with bob, tal and emily serving up single origin colombian. i have a splendid macchiato and run backstage briefly only to catch mike phillips getting a shiatsu massage and doug zell speaking in a british accent. auspicious starts indeed.

ryan willbur is competitor number one. his primary argument about his gorgeous la maravilla guatemalan coffee is that it’s truly possible to grow great coffee in a sustainable farm. his coffee comes from “happy pickers”, so he says. and the introduction, by necessity, of the processing plant being built on the farm is “tragedy turned victory”. willburish turn of phrase but very possibly true. and as the ghost grabs his cups and adjusts his ascot…the crowd sees hardly any nerves at all.

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