Once I officially committed to compete, it was time to prepare.
After exploring and hands-on research of various brewing devices, I decided on a relatively new coffee dripper made by Fellow Products out of San Francisco. The Stagg [x] dripper is a double-walled, insulated stainless steel dripper. It has a unique design with a flat bottom but steep slope that increases the coffee to water surface area and in turn gives the brewer more control during the brewing process. Those qualities paired with the fact not many people are using Fellow Products yet made it an appealing choice. The Stagg [x] makes great coffee but also stands out.
The next step was to practice blind tasting coffees roasted by different companies, writing my own flavor descriptors, and then brewing the coffee to make it taste like those descriptors (while also tasting good). We joined MistoBox, a weekly coffee delivery subscription that connects you with roasters from all over the country. This gave me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and challenge my brewing skills. This was one of my favorite parts about preparing to compete. I got to share this practice time with the baristas I happened to be training at the time. Having a wide variety of different coffees from all over the United States was a fun way for us to start each day.