Day 1 – Competitors 9-16

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Russian Champion, Olga Melik-Karakozova, had many people in the audience showing support by waving her nation’s tri-colored flag and cheering loudly for her efforts.

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The Colombian champion represented his country well but fell into trouble when one of his signature drinks tumbled on the judges’ table.

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Spanish barista champion, Chiara Nicolini, created a complicated and unique signature drink featuring spheres of coconut milk, but though the routine won her the Spanish title, in Tokyo, it didn’t quite work out. She went well over time and unfortunately was disqaulified.

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Taiwan’s first barista champion, Tung-Yan Lin, was accompanied by many supporters, and put on a very seasoned performance. He could have easily been competing for years, maybe because he’s been a barista for a decade.

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Swiss barista champion, Anna Kaeppeli, has been a barista for five years and she said she enjoys “the timeless moments of coffee, and the world of coffee teaches my heart.”

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Ukrainian barista champion, Ruslan Iakubov, said his favorite part about being a barista is experimenting with espresso.

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Nik Orosi, the Croatian barista champion, welcomed the audience in Japanese and was in turn rewarded with a roar of approval from the audience. His signature drink was a replica of the Japanese flag, again pleasing the citizens of our host country.

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Nicaragua’s first barista champion, Salome Corea Peralta, was taught about competitions last year in Managua by Klaus Thompsen and Salavador Benitez Espinosa (sorry Deaton, I know you helped, but really, wasn’t it mostly those guys?). She used a special competition espresso blend built from three Nicaraguan coffees.

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