Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Elmer's Coffee Journey in Photos

* WHEW, AT LAST! After a month of intense training for the recently concluded Philippine National Barista Championship (Cafe Antonio would like to congratulate Kevin Fortu of Craft Coffee Workshop for winning!), Elmer and I were just too happy to have experienced it all. All the hard work paid off and I was very happy to see Elmer being up there on stage and facing his fears head on. You see, Elmer couldn't even stand being in front of our guests and taking orders before we started training. So when January came, we switched duties at the shop. He was the cashier, waiter, and lead barista while I was inside the kitchen doing what every barista hates to do: making milkshakes and ice-blended beverages. The competition definitely transformed him into a better barista and a model employee. He was also glad to have met several new friends during the competition. Here's a photo blog of his training sessions, field trips, and amaaaazing experiences:

This was one of our intense 1-hour speech practices. That's me showing Elmer how to speak confidently in front of a video camera. Every other day, a team of speech coaches (Ate Joyce, Jason, Jorge, Mon, and Ate Marisse)  would teach Elmer about syllabication, listening to the beat of his playlist, hand gestures, pronunciation, and eye contact for an hour. After that, Elmer would go to the kitchen and practice his spiels (which we co-wrote together with the speech coaches) with the kitchen staff.  
In the evening, before we close, Elmer practices his lines in front of our staff, OJTs, and friends while familiarizing himself with the judges' table and the bar. Sometimes he would only practice workflow and speech and sometimes he would only practice making drinks.
Elena Tence and her brother Vince of 18 Days Coffee Roaster helped Elmer develop his espresso blend for the competition. We spent a day blending the 4 species of coffee that we used and then we conceptualized the theme of the signature beverage. Prior to this meeting, I did my homework and researched on the components of the drink.
Since 2010, Cafe Antonio baristas have developed a training regimen called "shadowboxing." This timed routine practices muscle memory and fluid movement from making espressos to cappuccinos. It's also a good way to practice at home together with your playlist pumping in your headset. 
Elmer practices explaining his signature beverage in front of the OJTs. Every prop on the table should have a specific function and should be used to visually enhance the performance. 
Elmer goes to Gourmet Farms together with Elena, Vince, and our friend Edu so that he would see how coffee is being roasted.

Then Elena brought Elmer to roaster, Michael Asuncion's coffee farm also in Cavite.
After seeing the coffee trees and meeting the farmers, the group went to Michael's Silka Coffee roastery.
Elmer did some pourover coffee with a Chemex brewer for the group to enjoy. Too bad I wasn't there! :(
On the week of the competition, Elmer had one last dress rehearsal together with some friends and family, complete with mock judges, emcee, timer, runner, and the whole she-bang! It was the first time Elmer actually felt nervous!
Introducing, contestant number one from Cafe Antonio, ELMER UMALI! Good job bro, you did very well and we are very proud of you. The start of your sophomere year as a barista couldn't be much better! To God be the glory!
Special thanks to all the people who made this possible:
Joyce Flores-Fellizar - speech coach (diction)
Rick Jason Obrero - speech coach/mock sensory judge
Jorge Milano - speech coach/mock emcee
Mon Garcia - speech coach/mock runner
Ralph Palacpac - spectator/photographer
Grace Flores-Osio - spectator/critic
Herbert Osio Jr. - mock sensory judge
Edu Foronda - mock sensory judge/driver
Marisse Bonita - mock sensory judge/speech coach
Elena Tence and Vince - roasters/tour guides
Michael Asuncion and Silka Coffee - green coffee beans
Gourmet Farms - green coffee beans
CAnton Kitchen Staff (Mabel, Maricel, Cathy) - spectators 
CAnton OJTs from UPHR-Calamba (Jayna - photographer, Jana, Nikka, Aimee, Alayssa, Aerol, Aljohn, and MJ)
Philip Flores, Nick Umali, Inigo Diaz - drivers/transportation
Alec Inciong, Noel Casubha, Rikki Mendiola - spectators
and to all our customers who prayed for Elmer

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