Editor’s note: As we approach the beginning of the 2014 World Barista Championship, which takes place in Rimini, Italy, June 9–12, at the SCAE’s World of Coffee event, we would like to introduce you to the National Barista Champions who all worked incredibly hard to earn a position in this preeminent coffee contest. Profiles of all 54 competitors will appear on Barista Magazine’s blog between Monday, June 2, and Monday, June 9, and can all be accessed under the category header “WBC 2014 Rimini.”
BARISTA CHAMPION OF GUATEMALA
Jose Miguel Echeverria Donis
Cafe El Injerto
Coach: Hector Gonzalez
About me: My name is Jose Miguel Echeverria. I am 27 years old. I live in a beautiful country named Guatemala. I describe myself as a friendly, positive person capable of taking on challenges. I’m very determined with lots of dreams and goals. I enjoy every moment with my family and friends and I like to share with them a good cup of coffee. I’m a very hard worker, and I approach new things every day. One of my hobbies is to skate with my friends in my free time. I studied graphic design in 2007 where I learned design strategies. In 2012 I studied Business Administration. This experience helps me to have a good administration in the caffeeshop. Currently I’m in charge of the Coffee School were I increase my abilities and knowledge by providing a high-caliber education of coffee. This makes me feel proud of myself because I’m reaching every dream and every goal I have in my life.
How many years have you worked with coffee or in the coffee industry?
Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?
My first job was working in a bank, but I didn’t feel comfortable, so I decided to find the passion of my life in some other work.
How did you get started in coffee?
In 2007 I had the opportunity to work in a coffee shop, where I learned techniques and coffee descriptions like acidity, body, aroma, finish, how to roast a particular bean and so many things more. I had 3 weeks of intense training with Raul Rodas, who was the trainer for the National Championship of Baristas in 2007. I was very amazed about all the figures and art you can create in a cup of cappuccino or latte, so that’s how I decided to learned more about coffee. Over time I got in myself in the coffee world, where I improve my techniques and skills and learn so much more. At the end of the year I had the opportunity to work at the coffee shop of Finca el Injerto, where I learned the quality of the infused brew, cupping, and how to roast coffee. I had the opportunity to participate in the National Championship of Baristas with the support of Arturo Aguirre and his son Arturo Aguirre. I was supported by Hector Gonzalez, the Champion of World Cup Taster Championship in 2010.
What was your first amazing experience with coffee?
In 2011 I participated in my first National Championship, it was an awesome experience for me, because I learned so many things and opened my eyes to expanding my knowledge to new horizons in coffee. It helps me to believe more in myself as a barista, giving my best in every cup of coffee and enjoying every part of the competition.
Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?
Arturo Aguirre, his son Arturo Aguirre, and Hector Gonzalez, because they teach me to work hard for every goal I had in my career as a barista, they increase my knowledge letting me experience with every process in coffee, believing in myself and my abilities. They let me put a little piece of myself in every cup of coffee, using my creativity and passion.
What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?
I would like to increase the coffee culture in my country, letting people participate and get involved in every step making a good cup of coffee and letting them enjoy the different flavors you can experience in every sip.
Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:
James Hoffmann, because I admire his passion, his knowledge and every contribution he made to coffee scientifically.
Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.
All my customers are special and unique and I give my best to everyone who visits the coffee shop. Juan Pablo Lara is one of them, he is very special, because he always supports me in every new creation, encouraging me to extract flavor evenly and thoroughly.
Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?
Tretto Café because its the best coffee in Antigua Guatemala, and you will have a new experience in every sip.
Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?
Kenya, because this country has one of the best coffee in the world to me.
What are your interests outside of coffee?
Travel around the world, learning about different cultures, getting know people of other countries.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Expanding my knowledge and sharing my experience to every person who wants to learn.
Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?
I want to thank God, my family, every people who support me in this three years, Aguirres family and Hector Gonzalez for being my mentor.