#24: BARISTA CHAMPION OF MEXICO—ALVARO CARRASCO
I met Alvaro in Mexico at the natinal championship back in September. Mexico was the first country to put the new WBC rules and regulations into use, and Alvaro did a tremendous job with his presentation, earning him second place in the very competitive Mexican barista field. The winner, Aleili, was unable to come to At;anta, so Alvaro is here in her place. He’s a very worthy competitor, and seeing how much better hes gotten in the seven months since the Mexico Barista Championship makes it obvious that he is a force to be reckoned with. He uses Mexican and Ethiopian coffees for intense acidity, body and a distinct chocolate flavor. He has a brand new signature drink, this one a cold drink. He lets his espresso shots cool down before he adds them to the drink, which also combines ginger and raspberry sauce. It’s a performance to be proud of! Viva Mexico!
#25: BARISTA CHAMPION OF COLOMBIA—EVER BERNAL
Ever Bernal is the nephew of Blanca Bernal, the 2008 National Barista Champion of Colombia, so coffee is in his blood. He also hails from the same company as Blanca, Amor Perfecto. Ever has tons of confidence on stage, and is a real pleasure to watch! Thank you, Ever, and congratulations!
#26: BARISTA CHAMPION OF PUERTO RICO—DANIEL RIVERA
Daniel is incredibly poised on stage, and his judges seem to sit up and take notice. He tells them that he is using a single origin Puerto Rican coffee that has been washed and then roasted medium. Daniel’s performance is smooth as he moved through espressos and then pours some lovely latte art. His signature drink combines honey, cardomom, cinnamon and, in an homage to Atlanta, Georgia, peaches! Very creative and nicely done, Daniel.
#27: BARISTA CHAMPION OF NEW ZEALAND—CARL SARA
I’m imagining it must be awfully hard to come back to barista competitions when you got your start in them a very long time ago. I first saw Carl in the WBC finals in Trieste, Italy, in 2004. But the five years since then seem to have ony strengthened his conviction and passion for coffee. This year, Carl is back. We haven’t seen him since he won third place in the WBC in Tokyo, in 2007, but he doesn’t seem to have skipped a beat. He approaches the judges humbly and with gumption. He is using today a single estate coffee from El Salvador, a fully washed Bourbon. He approaches the judges table with a tray carrying ingredients and two saucepans, and pours cream into one saucepan, then mashes up some pink perppercorns and puts those in the other. He has also a bowl of blueberries soaking in sugar water. When he presents te signature drink, he tells the judges that something he has learned from competing so many times is that signature drinks are about the coffee, which is why he has deconstructed the drink — blueberries, peppercorns, cream. It’s an exceptional performance.