Coronavirus, Coffee and Community
When the first draft of this blog started, it was the middle of January, and things looked a lot different. In some ways, the Orange County US Coffee Championship feels like it happened a year ago. With updates of COVID-19 coming weekly, daily, and then almost hourly, this blog morphed into something different than just a fun recap.
You see, the thing that the Glitter Cat team does exceptionally well is encourage all participants to be exactly who they are: stand in front of a crowd and judges, present their work, and their own story. Their stories are all unique, heartfelt, and engaging.
All of a sudden, I was no longer attending an event about coffee competitions but about people. Individuals who have poured out their hearts and souls into these presentations, overcame financial hardships to compete and fought against inequality at their workplace and in their very own community.
When COVID-19 began to take root in the U.S. and grip the specialty coffee community, many of those stories came to mind. I started to these competitors cafes close down, baristas let go, and entire industry work towards just making it through one more day. As things got worse, another thing appeared; A wave of community and creativity flooded my Instagram feed. Digital tip jars, curbside and hospital deliveries, “Barista Relief” blends, petitions, and Coffee Grams delivered to your door – a wave of hope to keep the coffee community alive.
That’s what USCC and the Glitter Cat Bootcamps are about. While initially, they are about excelling in your professional coffee career, they are also about being seen. They are about bringing everything you are to the stage, sharing your name and allowing people in. Letting people in (metaphorically, of course, social distancing is real!) in this season is how we are going to make it.
Order curbside, sign a petition, send someone a Coffee Gram, and stay home, so we can all see each other again when the final act of USCC 2020 has been scheduled.