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 MEXICO
Erika Chagoya León
About me: I come from a family that worked in a coffee farm, and I really know the hard work they have to do everyday. I believe in fair trade for all the people that work, produce, and take care the coffee. I have been drinking coffee since I was 4 years old because my grandparents loves it and they taught me to enjoy it. They are from Veracruz. And I always wanted to have a coffee shop, and now, it is a dream come true. I have been working in this industry for the last 7 years and I really enjoy it. But I love the service and I would like to do something for the people that work in the coffee industry and for my country. We have amazing coffee, we just need to chose the correct process and learn more and more about this coffee universe.
Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?
I have a degree in Business Administration. I worked in the company Honeywell for 10 years in the Customer Service Department until I opened my own coffee shop and at this moment I have 2 coffee shops. The name of my coffee shops is GRADIOS!
How did you get started in coffee?
I [have loved] coffee since I was a child, but the real reason is because I always played with my friends that we had a coffee shop or restaurant, so I think I always knew what I really wanted to do, but now it is more professional than before, now is more interesting. It is a wonderful coffee universe. And now you can compete and feel the stage emotion in order to propose a new version of the coffee. Wow!!! It is perfect.
What was your first amazing experience with coffee?
Always it is an amazing experience for me because all the time you can enjoy in different ways the coffee and always it is a surprise to me. But I think it happened when I saw the nice big rosetta in my coffee latte.
What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?
Fair trade, education about the proccess [of] coffee, and save water, and more coffee.
Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:
I would like to know all of them, I think it can be a very interesting history.
Name a barista you admire, and why:
I have two favorites, Heather Perry and Michael Phillips. I love their professionalism and their way they are. They really understand that to work in something that you really enjoy it it is like a play.
Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.
All the customers are my favorites.
Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?
Ethiopia, the earth mother’s coffee.
What are your interests outside of coffee?
I love to do excercise and dance.I love to read and I love to travel. I love to watch movies. I love art. And I really like to do something different each day.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
With a lot coffee shops with different origins [of] coffee, and people working [happily] and customers pleased with the service because they know that the chain of coffee was [respected].