Inspiration Nation

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Eight o’clock in the morning came early today for the attendees of the 2007 Nordic Barista Cup; they arrived sleepily, stifling yawns. But upon entry to the big white tent within which five future coffee shops will be born, developed and presented over the course of the next three days, they were jolted awake with smells of coffee, greetings from old friends and meetings of new ones, and the infectious anticipation of the kind of unique fun and study for which the Nordic Barista Cup is known.

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Almost immediately, teams were summoned to the stage for briefing from Matts Johansson about what to expect from the competition, as attendees filed in to collect their amazing gift bags—shoulder bags filled with t-shirts, limited edition shot glasses, special towels and aprons, programs, hats, candies, syrups, and more!

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The weather is cooperating today, sending beams of sun in through the tent windows, but no one within the walls of the tent is much interested; as soon as the welcome speeches began, the 200-plus coffee professionals and enthusiasts were focused on the stage, where Matts warmly welcomed them to Gothenburg and to the next evolution of the Nordic Barista Cup.

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As Martin Hildebrandt and his partner Thomas Finn explained to the group, oftentimes it seems safest to stay where we are, to remain comfortable with what we are doing. But it is critical that we continue to challenge not only ourselves, but each other, to reach beyond what we thought we were capable of accomplishing. “It is the right thing to do, for our industry and for ourselves,” he said. “Step up, let go, be fearless, and express what’s in your heart.”

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