A Fantastic Day 2 at the SCAE Show in Nice

Risa Sasaki in yesterday's World Cup Tasters Championship semifinals round, when she discovers her cup selection has qualified her for the final round.

It’s hard to believe we’re almost at the end of our lovely sojourn in the South of France, where thousands of coffee professionals from around the world are gathered for the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe’s (SCAE) annual World of Coffee event, held this year in Nice, France, on the shores of La Côte d’Azur.

Loads of activities have been occupying my time, from scrumptious cuppings to exciting coffee competitions.

It is Friday morning as I write this, and we are scurrying to the show to watch the final rounds of both the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship (WCIGS) and the World Latte Art Championship (WLAC).

World Latte Art Championship finalists.

World Latte Art Championship finalists.

From 31 nations represented in total this year at the WLAC, we are down to a final six extraordinary baristas. They are:

Esther Maasdam, The Netherlands
Kyeong Woo Jung, Republic of Korea
Sam Low, New Zealand
Leszek Jedrasik, Poland
Miguel Lamora, Spain
Hisako Yoshikawa, Japan

World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship.

World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship.

In the WCIGS Championship, the field of 21 barista bartenders was narrowed to six spectacular finalists. They are:

Martin Hudák, Slovakia
Gordon Howell, United Kingdom
Marcin Wójciak, Poland
Dimitrios Konstantopoulos, Greece
Victor Delpierre, France

Risa Sasaki in yesterday's World Cup Tasters Championship semifinals round, when she discovers her cup selection has qualified her for the final round.

Risa Sasaki in yesterday’s World Cup Tasters Championship semifinals round, when she discovers her cup selection has qualified her for the final round.

The World Cup Tasters Championship has been thrilling to watch, as well. Yesterday (Thursday), was the semifinal round, and the following four extraordinary cuppers will continue on to today’s final round:

Jan Komarek, Czech Republic
Risa Sasaki, Japan
Lajos Horváth, Hungary
Nikolai Aunbakk

Nikolai of Norway in the World Cup Tasters Championship semifinal round. Nikolai got seven out of eight cups correct, and had a fast time.

Nikolai of Norway in the World Cup Tasters Championship semifinal round. Nikolai got seven out of eight cups correct, and had a fast time.

Lajos in the World Cup Tasters Championship semifinal round. Lajos got all eight cups correct.

Lajos in the World Cup Tasters Championship semifinal round. Lajos got all eight cups correct.

Jan from the Czech Republic also got all eight cups correct in the semifinal round of the World Cup Tasters Championship.

Jan from the Czech Republic also got all eight cups correct in the semifinal round of the World Cup Tasters Championship.

Another enormous highlight of yesterday was Café Imports’ special cupping event with Aida Batlle of El Salvador, who was here in person to answer questions about the coffees on the table from her Aida Batlle Selection program and the J. Hill y Cia mill in Santa Ana, El Salvador.

Noah of Café Imports stops for a hug from Brant of Curtis.

Noah of Café Imports stops for a hug from Brant of Curtis.

Yiannis of Taf Coffee in Greece cups through the table of Aida Batlle Selection coffees at the Café Imports cupping, along with Thomas, the owner of Coutume in Paris.

Yiannis of Taf Coffee in Greece cups through the table of Aida Batlle Selection coffees at the Café Imports cupping, along with Thomas, the owner of Coutume in Paris.

About 25 people attended the cupping, and represented specialty roasters from around the world. Café Imports’ Noah Namowicz and Gabe Dunn led them through the two tables of coffees, which also included some spot coffees from Ethiopia, Colombia, and elsewhere.

Noah looks on as the European roasters make through way down the table at the Café Imports cupping of Aida Batlle Selection coffees.

Noah looks on as the European roasters make through way down the table at the Café Imports cupping of Aida Batlle Selection coffees.

The show floor was buzzing throughout the day, and as we do at these European trade shows (and which we do not do at American shows), the champagne was flowing by 4:30 p.m.—the show closed at 5 p.m.

Team Japan from Ogawa Coffee poses for a photo with Aida Batlle (second from right) and Troels Poulsen (far right) of Kontra Coffee in Copenhagen, who is the 2005 World Barista Champion.

Team Japan from Ogawa Coffee poses for a photo with Aida Batlle (second from right) and Troels Poulsen (far right) of Kontra Coffee in Copenhagen, who is the 2005 World Barista Champion.

Sweetbird friends!!

Sweetbird friends!!

World Coffee in Good Spirits finalist, Victor Delpierre of France, with his proud mother and brother.

World Coffee in Good Spirits finalist, Victor Delpierre of France, with his proud mother and brother.

This handsome guy making cappuccinos for me? Yes, please!

This handsome guy making cappuccinos for me? Yes, please! Michael McCauley at the Cafes Richard booth.

World Latte Art Championship finalist Hisako Yoshikawa of Japan.

World Latte Art Championship finalist Hisako Yoshikawa of Japan.

After the show, it was time to head to THE party of the week: Unic! The Nice-based company offered the warmest of welcomes with this party—hands down the fanciest and most delicious coffee party I’ve ever been to.

Walking to the Unic party: from left, Anastasia of Unic, me, and Sonja Grant of Iceland.

Walking to the Unic party: from left, Anastasia of Unic, me, and Sonja Grant of Iceland.

Held at an eighteenth century palace on the water’s edge, well-dressed guests mingled in the gardens, checked out the exquisitely preserved palace, ate amazing food including the traditional Niçois chickpea crepe, mountains of prosciutto, and countless other delicacies. Perfectly selected wines and champagnes were served throughout the evening. Also on offer were coffee cocktails concocted by the amazing Sauro Dall Aglio, a consultant and trainer for Unic.

Sauro shaking up some coffee cocktails at the Unic extravaganza on Thursday night.

Sauro shaking up some coffee cocktails at the Unic extravaganza on Thursday night.

Sauro's non coffee cocktails were pretty outstanding, as well!

Sauro’s non coffee cocktails were pretty outstanding, as well!

Team Iceland enjoys their cocktails!

Team Iceland enjoys their cocktails!

Prosciutto heaven at the Unic espresso machines party.

Prosciutto heaven at the Unic espresso machines party.

When dusk was upon us, and the band was playing, guests filteres inside the palace to take advantage of the super fun photo set where they could play sea captain on the French Riviera in a delightfully adorable photograph. Each guest in the photo received a print for a souvenir of this magical evening.

My first group photo: from left, Stefanos of Greece, Stavroas of Greece, and Christos, also of Greece, with me, and Sonja (far right).

My first group photo: from left, Stefanos of Greece, Stavroas of Greece, and Christos, also of Greece, with me, and Sonja (far right).

Aida and me, lost at sea.

Aida and me, lost at sea.

Anastasia (center), and I navigate the waters, while Sonja happily smiles into the horizon.

Anastasia (center), and I navigate the waters, while Sonja happily smiles into the horizon.

And now it’s time to go watch the exciting final round of the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, the World Cup Tasters Championship, and the World Latte Art Championship! By the end of today, we will have new world champions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.