preliminaries: day one

i can’t see space mountain from my hotel room, but i still know it’s weird here the moment i wake up. the sidewalks of anaheim (not that most people use them) have become even more surreal, mixing mylar mickeys with coffee growers and random overheard conversations about fair trade. we are in weirdworld extreme here, and i cruise katella and wish i had stayed at the alpine inn, with its stucco snow. scaa hasn’t started yet today, but the competition has. i amble through a maze of palm trees to start the day watching devin pedde (intelligentsia) compete.

devin’s got the judges picking golden coins, choosing their own adventures again: they opt for sweetness, and he sweetens ’em up. first set of sig drink shots don’t go all the way into the glass, luckily he’s got extra vessels handy, everyone makes it out of here alive.

one of today’s competitors is MIA, and i take the break time to check out the symposium brew bar (bee house? syphon? v60 anyone?) and the press gift loft (cinnamints? batdorf and bronson ball cap? innovative to-go cup lids?) before running back to catch laila ghambari (BARISTA). she is using BARISTA beer coasters as part of her table setting, i guess she knows which side her beer is buttered on.

note: the hilton adjacent to the convention center has a yogurt restaurant called “liquid assets”.

note no. 2: tomorrow our convention is being joined by a comic con called WIZARD WORLD. this is gonna beat last year’s scrapbookers, for sure.

colin whitcomb (alterra) performs his hand-clapping, hip-swaying routine to the tune of mariah carey and prince once again. “it’s not easy to do anything with so much gusto as the brothers at herbazu,” says colin. well, except maybe this routine.

ian shaughnessey (olympia coffee roasters) uses purple corn. purple corn! he found out a lot about this fruit on wikipedia. sig drink tastes awesome in fact. and then ryan willbur (intelligentsia) makes friggin’ meringue on stage.

nicole mournian (intelligentsia) instructs us to “visualize a sexy librarian at the card catalog,” and i am still trying this when she explain her cappuccino has a tea-like body (!). her delivery is smooth and elegant in a confident, fine dining style (amazingly confident for someone who only found out they were competing four days ago), and then she goes over time and disqualifies herself while preparing a signature drink of a piece of bread with butter, and a macchiato. whoa!

can’t wait for day number two (with wizards). back to the hotel now for some air conditioning.

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