Competitors #1—#5

#1

NATIONAL CHAMPION OF ARGENTINA

MARIA ROGELIA RETAMOZO

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Right on schedule, the national champion of Argentina, Maria Rogelia Retamozo, took the stage. There are a few glitches as we come out of the gate here — like photographers leaning on Maria’s prep table (ahem!. But Maria is handling it with grace and professionalism. She delivers her presentation in Spanish, and Jose translates. Her signature drink consists of espresso, milk and grape juice—it’s a lovely drink. She finishes exactly at 15 minutes — nice job, Maria!

#2

NATIONAL CHAMPION OF CHINA

HUA WEI

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Hua has awesome energy right off the bat, and a competition set-up that kicks ass—so beautiful. And his music is like Chinese hip-hop. The audience loves it. Hes speaking a rapid-fire mix of Chinese and English, but though I can only understand half of what he’s saying, his enthusiam is infectious. His signature drink is a coffee-tea hybrid. Pu’er tea to be exact. He finishes within time. Bravo, Hua!

#3

NATIONAL CHAMPION OF DENMARK

SOREN STILLER MARKUSSEN

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Soren begins his presentation by presenting the judges with a small slice of dark bread that he roasted himself. He says the two traditional tastes of Danish clture, dark bread and beer, will come through in his signature drink. Remember that tricked out supply case we pictured in the last post? That was Soren’s, fyi. This is the kind of professionalism and organization he brings to the WBC, for which, it seems, all Danish Barista Champions are known. Hey! He just said creamy mouthfeel! Now it’s totally obvious that Klaus trained him. He’s using Coffee Collective coffee, of course. He creates an infusion with the dark bread and strains it into the glasses. The service is elaborate and sophisticated, but the drink appears simple and classic at the end. He finishes within time at the end, to great applause from his local fans.

#4

NATIONAL CHAMPION OF ESTONIA

NELE MANGULIS

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Nele begins her presentation with her cappuccinos, pulling off lovely pours even though she appears nervous. She tells the judges how much she loves cappuccinos, how having a cap is one of the highlights of every one of her days. She’s got a lot of fans in the audience cheering her on. She combined her love of blackberries with her fondness for espresso in a beautiful drink. Nice job, Nele!

#5

NATIONAL CHAMPION OF LITHUANIA

SAULIUS SIMONAVICIUS

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Saulius has a lot of fans in this large crowd, as well — they’re wearing the Lithianian colors in hats and shirts and waving them in flags. It’s great to see. Saulius has awesome cups and this surprisingly tropical kind of feel to his presentation— note the coconuts on the table. He’ll put coconut extract and milk in his signature drink, he tells the judges, and they will be asked to consume the drink through a straw.

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