Finalist #1: CANADA

World Barista Championship FINALIST #1

SAMMY PICCOLO OF CANADA

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This is what they call a veteran: Sammy’s appearance here today represents his fourth time in the World Barista Championship finals. He hails from the celebrated Caffe Artigiano in Vancouver, B.C., and has earned even more distinctions than barista champion, including World Latta Art Champion a few years back. Sammy looks sharp in a plain black dress shirt and dark striped tie, and he appears calm and collected as he begins his performance.

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He starts by telling te judges that perhaps his favorite part f being a barista is the opportunity to source amazing coffees. For today, he has selected two coffees for an espresso blend: a Costa Rican, which comprises 85 percent of the blend. He says the Costa Rican makes the espresso taste clean because it’s a washed coffee. It has been roasted until the second crack which makes the dominant flavors of caramel and grapefruit come through. The remaining 15 percent of the blend is an Ethiopian (for details, see Emily’s post, Coffee of the Champions). It will mellow the acidity of the Costa Rican, he says, and also add sweetness. He says these beans are super sweet because at the farm, so much care has been put into the harvest, including the producers going so far as to perform a sugar analysis before the cherries are even picked.

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Sammy begins some signature prep now, squeezing a grapefruit at the judges table and then taking that juice over to his awesome blender—a thermal blender, which means he can control both the temperature inside and the speed of the blades. He then adds organic cane sugar to the blender and proceeds to begin his cappuccinos.

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For Sammy’s cappuccinos, he tells us he is using a whole milk that is organic and contains 3 percent (he might have said 3.5—sorry, I’m not 100 percent sure) milkfat and was sourced from a dairy here in Georgia. He says, “I’m using whole milk because it enhances the sweet taste of the cappuccino and you also get a nice butter” flavor from it. He tells the judges that the caramel flavor will carry through in the cappuccino. When serving his espresso course, he mentions that since both coffees are from high elevations, so the taste will be especially fruity and caramely in the finish.
Now Sammy moves on to his signature drink. He prepares four shots of espresso and then adds it directly to the thermal blender. He explains that he has turned the blender off and it has had a chance to cool, and is at about 8 degrees, and therefore will not shock the espresso. Lastly, he adds a homemade creme fraiche to the mixture. The creme fraiche he says he infused with grapefruit juice earlier this morning.

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As he serves the drink to the judges, a creamy mixture poured in low round glasses, he tells them that they will notice candy in the nose, which complements to creamy body of the creme fraiche. He ends by telling the judges that all these ingredients are just to enhance the espresso. It’s a beautiful job—the best I have ever seen from Sammy, and I’ve seen him in all of his WBC finals. So very impressive and warm. Bravo, Sammy.
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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.