Day 1 – From Reykjavík to the Wild

So a few things have happened since last we posted. Following the longstanding Icelandic tradition of a spontaneous afternoon dance party, Dr. Munchow, Morton if you please, took the podium once again to give a fascinating presentation, putting into layman’s terms exactly what is happening when you steam milk to make foam. I never knew it could be so fascinating discussing the interaction between air, liquid and fat.

Science is fun!

Science is fun!

Timing the duration of bubbles!

Timing the duration of bubbles!

After Morton finished, he had several tables set up where the attendees could see for themselves how viscosity among other things affects the creation and the stability of bubbles. The teams were also given a task to use the information they had gleaned, and they were judged on the volume and consistency of their foam.

Honestly, this team totally won the trivia challenge.

Honestly, this team totally won the trivia challenge.

Shortly after leaving the city, the Icelandic countryside becomes quite dramatic.

Shortly after leaving the city, the Icelandic countryside becomes quite dramatic.

Then everyone boarded buses and we headed out of the city. Our first stop was Heidishell, a geothermal plant some 20 or 30 kilometers from Reykjavik. It provides all of the power for the city and a couple dozen other municipalities. Along the way the two buses competed in a trivia contest. Bus 2 clearly won (some folks dispute that, but they are clearly mistaken) but due to some scoring errors the prize went to Bus 1. The prize was a salty licorice lollipop, so I suppose winning in this sense is very relative.

NBC is in the house!

NBC is in the house!

Iceland is a world leader in clean, geothermal energy production.

Iceland is a world leader in clean, geothermal energy production.

After a brief tour of the power plant, the buses once again hit the road, and we headed north toward the Atlantic. Of course this being Iceland, heading in any direction for any length of time brings you inevitably to the Atlantic. At the shore, we were treated to an amazing meal of lobster at a terrific restaurant.

The sun setting over the North Atlantic.

The sun setting over the North Atlantic.

The day’s winning team was then announced, and Denmark took the honors. Among the prizes they received was a bedtime story (a scary Icelandic ghost story) read by Barista Magazine’s own Sarah Allen. They also were given the opportunity to serenade Alex Schwalbach, a volunteer here from Alterra, who was celebrating his 23rd birthday.

Team Denmark brings candles and sings for the birthday boy.

Team Denmark brings candles and sings for the birthday boy.

The man of the hour, Alex Schwalbach!

The man of the hour, Alex Schwalbach!

Following the meal, once again the buses started rolling, and in our bus anyway, Tim Wendelboe, Klaus Thomsen and Troels Poulsen broke into (yet another) rousing rendition of “We Are the Champions.” Luckily it wasn’t too far until we reached our final destination for the evening, the camp where we are staying for the next portion of the event.

More to come soon….

About the Author

Ken

Kenneth R. Olson is co-founder and publisher of Barista Magazine the worldwide trade magazine for the professional coffee community. He has written extensively about specialty coffee, traveled near and far for stories, activities, and fun, and been invited to present on topics important to coffee culture. He is also an avid fan of the Portland Trail Blazers and the Washington Huskies. Go Blazers! Go Dawgs!