NATIONAL CHAMPION OF FRANCE
Ah, Le France. Guido from La Marzocco was just sitting with me, and he’s vey excited to see Anthony’s performance—he has high hope for this champion. And no wonder: Anthony looks totally at ease up there on stage. He’s doing some prep for his signature drink and guess what his secret ingredient is? Sweet potatoes. Now he’s pulling his espressos, and he’s got impeccable attention to detail, wiping drips from his pristine cups. He’s attempting some nice latte art and having some crowd-pleasing success. For his sig drink, he’s pulling out an iSi. He pours his shots into a saucepan, with his sweet potatoes, and combines his unsweetened charged milk with cream of macadamia. It’s a beautiful drink. Congratulations Anthony!
NATIONAL CHAMPION OF INDIA
FELIX DANIEL MATHEWS
Felix begins his performance with a bow of thanks to the judges. With his exotic table decor, complete with Indian flags and a hand-carved wood menu, not to mention the scents of cinnamon and sugar cane he has steeping in a saucepan, we’re almost immediately transported to his home nation — it’s really electrifying. He tells the judges that he is using Arabica coffee from Guatemala and Costa Rica along with an unwashed Robusta from India. I’m glad to see that hes brought some traditional illy cups, painted a beautiful Dansk blue, perhaps to match the Danish milk he’s sourced and using in his cappuccinos. He says, however, that the milk here in Denmark is quite different from what he’s used to in India. Felix begins pulling sots for his espresso as the judges enjoy their cappuccinos, but he ends up having to remake 2 of the shots. Good attention to detail. His sig drink is called Coffee Wow — he says the “wow” is because the fist time he had really great coffee, he said, WOW! Thanks, Felix!
NATIONAL CHAMPION OF NICARAGUA
LUIS LOPEZ FLORES
Ken met Luis several years ago at Ramacafe in Nicaragua when he was just learning the art of espresso in a workshop taught by Klaus Thomsen of Denmark. When we caught up with him in Managua a few months ago—just a week before the Nicaraguan championship—he was a completely different guy. He’s a crowd favorite both at home in Nicaragua and here in Denmark… it’s nice to see (but not surprising) that his charm translates! His cappuccinos look lovely, nice complexity in the visual. As he goes to begin mixing his signature drink, his blender won’t turn on, so he calls a technical. Still unsure whether it’s a legal time saved. He ends his performance by extending an invitation to the judges and audience to visit Nicaragua and try some of his country’s beautiful coffees. Luis, you did wonderfully!
NATIONAL CHAMPION OF THE UNITED STATES
It’s been an amazing year for Kyle, from his stand-out at the Western Regional, to his win in Minneapolis at the USBC, to here in Copenhagen, at his first WBC. The coffee community in the United States is SO proud of Kyle—he’s just what we want a champion to be: humble, technically excellent, friendly, easy going, and passionate as can be about his coffee. H’s changed up his performance since Minneapolis a little, to keep himself entertained and interested as much as anything, from what he tells me. And that’s why I love Kyle. Anyway, so he’s using a Panama today, which is new, and his music is different, but the drink—macadamias, cardomom pods, sea salt, vanilla cream, is much the same. Kyle is rockin a new Mazzer after TSA essentially destroyed his grinder en route from LA to Copenhagen. But a true pro takes that in stride and figures out a way around it. And Kyle did. Kyle, we’re so proud of you!
Hey — there’s Lizz Hudson judging! I haven’t seen her for the last two days, almost forgot she was here!
NATIONAL BARISTA CHAMPION OF POLAND
I count ten people around me wearing Polish Barista Team shirts—Slawomir for sure brought a little Poland with him. Anyway, Slawomir has a rosemary plant on his judges table, which is exciting to me. Can’t wait to see what he does with it. He’s got two grinders, and his caps seem to be pouring nicely. Slawomir pours some sexy latte art, and the crowd loves it. He’s yet another barista featuring a Brazil dominated blend. Prepping his sig drink, he breaks out the whipper. Sig drink: coconut, orange, espresso, and stwig of rosemary to stir drink with. Slawomir finishes with a full minute to spare, and from the sound of his MANY Polish compadres , he did a damn good job.
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