Everyone and their grandmother likes Raul Rodas; he’s just one of those guys. Actually, he’s unique in how beloved he is in this coffee industry. But there’s no big secret reason for it—he’s kind and friendly, he wants to meet everyone, not just the heavy hitters (of which he has been one for years now), but the newbies, as well. In fact, he loves meeting the newbies and hearing about the passion of the next generation. For this, Raul is solid gold in this industry.
He’s also probably the most down-to-earth guy here. He’s really not phased by all the fuss surrounding competition. In fact, he didn’t even know he would compete until a few days before his national competition. And the reason he did? Because he and his friend, Raul, a farmer in the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala, had been having a blast with experimentations.So Raul thought, hey, let’s share this with people. They’ll probably think it’s as cool as we did. So he competed, and he won.
Not really a big surprise there: Raul famously placed second in the uber-competitive 2010 World Barista Championship in London, a higher rank than any barista from a producing country at that time.
So needless to say, everyone was stoked, just stoked, to see Raul take the stage. We knew he’d treat us to a good time, that he’d present amazing coffees, create a party on stage, and likely not make a misstep.
And he didn’t.
Raul doesn’t mind taking chances—in fact he loves taking chances. But coffee farmers tend to be scared of it. So Raul felt even more proud that the experiments went so well.
He presented the judges with an amazing array of jars filled with coffee in various stages: cascara, unwashed, semiwashed, and washed. He creates teas with each of these, then had the judges taste it in comparison to the espresso he had made of the same coffee.
Raul was, no surprise, a complete and utter joy to watch. Raul, you never cease to amaze us.
Final time: 14.57