This is nothing new to Colin Harmond. He has competed—and made it to the WBC finals—four times now. The first was in Atlanta in 2009, where he placed fourth; the second was in London in 2010, where he once again earned fourth. Then he was back in 2012 in Vienna, where he bumped up to third place. And now he’s back with a thirst for more.
Colin is one of the most incredibly honest, humble, and sweet guys I’ve met in this industry. Truly he has every reason to boat: he owns and operated Third Floor Espresso (3FE) in Dublin (co-owned by his good friend, Steve Leighton, owner of the roaster Hasbean). If you want to learn all about Colin, you can check out the cover article on him in Barista Magazine (click HERE to read it for free online). Not to mention he is incredibly well respected by his barista peers. And again, just look at his track record.
Each year, Colin finds new boundaries to push. In 2012, he stripped barista competitions down to their bare bones, taking away almost all frills and focusing on the essential elements of the character of his coffee. This year he is using coffee from Finca Patrona (yep, that’s right—the same coffee being used by El Sal champ William). To blend this Salvadoran coffee with something Irish he created a coffee stout (of course!). He actually was sitting in a pub in Dublin enjoying a stout when he came up with the idea.
For this competition, Colin actually bottles on stage an espresso stout using pacamara from El Salvador’s Santa Ana region. Using malted barley hops, with an infusion of cherry, fresh pressed apple juice, and he pours it all into a whipper, shooting it out through nitrous to recreate the frothy texture of an Irish stout. He actually caps each bottle before serving it to the judges in an adorable carry-out box. Then judges then pop the tops of the bottles and enjoy.
Having watched Colin over the years, I think this is truly his more progressive and innovative performance ever. Well done, Colin. Well done!