Rep. of Korea, Rep. of Serbia, Czech Republic

#41: BARISTA CHAMPION OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA: LEE JONG HOON

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The barista champion from the Republic of Korea is a polished performer from the moment he takes the stage. He is using a Cup of Excellence Costa Rican coffee, and he’s deft at explaining its beauties to the judges. One of the best tricks we’ve seen all week: he holds two portafilters in one hand while dosing and grinding. Nice show, Lee Jong! In his signature drink, he combines cream, cacao, sugar and coffee beans. It’s an interesting performance that is a delight to watch. Very nicely done, Lee Jong.

#42: BARISTA CHAMPION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA—BERONJA BRANISLAV

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I like Beronja immediately because he talks about how his performance will be, “like all good things, simple.” He pours his caps dry, which he tells the judges, to the sound of “Al Along the Watchtower.” For Beronja’s signature drink, he is going to create a tiramisu, but with a twist: he replaces the eggs in the recipe with strawberry jam. But first, he combines honey and cream in a shaker and shakes for 10 seconds. His signature drink presentation is really terrific—he puts the ingredients together in individual beakers, and then creates a layered drink with espresso, cacao, the strawberry jam, honey and cream mixture, and then serves. Beautifully done, Beronja.

#43: BARISTA CHAMPION OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC—MICHEL KOCMAN

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Michel commands the stage from the start with an in depth explanation of his coffee for the judges. He tells them he is using a single origin Brazilian bourbon that has been medium roasted, He says in the espresso the judges will taste red fruits and they will enjoy a dark chocolate aftertaste. When serving his cappuccinos, he tells the judges that he wants fresh cappuccinos so he is using 2 percent milk. For his signature drink, Michel combines coconut milk, nuts and honey, clove, ginger, cardamom, and green tea. When he serves the judges, he has them stir the drink with a sprig of rosemary. It’s a delightful touch. Nicely done, Michel!

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.