Day 1 – Competitors 17-23

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The barista champion of Slovakia, Stanislav Cibula, spent more than 10 years as a bartender, but has switched for the last three to work as a barista. Perhaps that’s why he invented the coffee martini.

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The Thai barista champion, Sirithai Rangjanthuek, built her signature drink after being inspired by visiting “the most beautiful island in the world” in Thailand, and told the story of the how the monkey learned to get a coconut. And we all love monkeys, so that was cool.

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Swedish barista champion, Costas Pliatsikas, said that even if he won the WBC it wouldn’t be as cool as being on the cover of the December/January 2007 issue of Barista Magazine. Well, not really, but he did put on a terrific performance that very well may earn him an invite to a second cover shoot.

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Lukasz Jura, the barista champion of Poland, made an outstanding signature drink with melted marzipan and individual filtration systems for each judge which looked something like a microscope. “I work at a coffee shop,” he said, “but for me it is more than just work. It is my passion.”

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Kenyan barista champion, John Muli Makau, used an espresso blend of strictly African coffees, and he created a signature drink served in a carved orange.

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Mariano Semino, the barista champion of Italy, has been a barista for 7 years. He used an espresso blend built of 75% Latin coffees and 25% from Malawi. His signature drink was an espresso caviar, washed in water and sugar and served with milk, tapioca and espresso.

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Lene Hyldahl was the final competitor of Day 1. For her signature drink, she used the Danish summer treat of strawberries. She made a strawberry balsamic syrup on stage and served it with her own coffee blend that she uses in the café her husband and her own in the north of Denmark.

Next up, competitors 24-45 on Day 2. Stay tuned!

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