can i just mention that it totally sucks to be friends with so many talented baristas? rooting is hard. really kind of awful. the exciting, loving, thrilling kind of awful, but still.

mike phillips ended the day of tough, incredibly skilled and charismatic competitors. he greeted the judges by saying “it’s an unexpected and absolutely welcome honor to be here”. mP is extra smooth right now—must’ve been the karaoke and the michael jackson dancing last night.

mike’s cappuccinos, which taste like fluid velvet, are made with a blend of two milks, which maybe i already wrote yesterday at 1am. he adjusts his grind more coarsely so that he can updose the shots for his signature drink, which is again that exercise of separating a shot at different stages in the extraction to explore the different flavor characteristics at different times during the shot.

smooth smooth, mike’s performance escapes by, or maybe it’s my nerves talking. when james murphy says “what will happen next?” (i mean, dude doesn’t really sing) on mike’s lcd sound-track, mike seamlessly explains, “what’s gonna happen next is…” and finishes preparing his signature drink in a cocktail shaker, deadpan to the point i’m not sure people even catch it. timed and synced and having a good time, mike is an amazing ender to a great day, a competitor who placed 5th in his regional and didn’t think he’d make it this far. good on ya, phillips.

i see stephen morrissey approaching the front of the room now, which makes it time for me to try and keep my stomach out of my throat while they announce the syrup and cleaning supplies sponsors.

i’d give you my predictions but who can truly say? (i mean other than later when i’ll gloat if i’m right).

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