The Champions Arrive…

After a hearty breakfast with Willy and Andreas from Solberg & Hansen, Ken and I headed to the event space, Øksnehallen, which is where the World Barista Championship, the World Latte Art, World Coffee in Good Spirits, and World Cupping Championships, and of course the Wonderful Coffee Exhibition are taking place. It’s way cool that our hotel is so close to the venue, but we kinda wished we’d been able to walk even farther because the weather is so dang amazing here…

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And here’s how we knew we’d arrived…

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I can’t even remember which friendly face we saw first, there were so many. Friends from Estonia, Iceland, Poland, Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador, the UK, Australia, Japan, New Zealand… it was overwhelming. Not to sound sappy, but it totally reminds me of the first day of summer camp when you see your friends for the first time in a year and you know for a fact you’re in for a hell of a week.

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The Magnificent Michelle Campbell was hard at work as always, organizing last minute details. The venue is set up in a cool way, so when you walk in, the WBC stage is to your left, the aisle leading down the trade show floor is in front of you, and the stage where the other competitions will be held is to your right.

The judges’ workshop kicked off this morning, too, which was being led by Marcus Boni and Brent Fortune, and it looked like the caliber of the judges is as high as ever—fantastic to see.

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But when Ken and I came to see—besides bling like THIS—

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was the competitors’ meeting. This is such an overwhelming experience for the competitors, as they meet and see for the first time the national barista champions from all over the world. You can see all the wide eyes in the group as they survey one another thinking, wow… this is so much bigger than I ever could have imagined…

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After Cindy Chang, WBC Board Prez, and Michelle got the ball rolling, each national champion was invited to stand up and introduce themselves to the crowd.

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That’s Team Taiwan, above, and below is Team Mexico.

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And here is the Icelandic Champion saying hello:

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Here is the champion of Uganda, one of seven countries this year entering the WBC for the first time:

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Finally, the U.S.’s own Kyle Glanville with a brand spankin’ new handsome haircut, and Deaton Pigot by his side. Kyle was incredibly gracious in his hello to his fellow competitors, telling them that being in the presence of such incredible barista talent truly humbled him.

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After the meeting, the national champions were invited to explore their competitors’ area backstage, where a set of rules as well as an invitation to tonight’s Barista Party were saved at each competitor spot (check back tomorrow for coverage of the party!)

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And then, Ken and I were off to Café Europa. It was about a 20 minute walk, and so beautiful. Boy, do we love Copenhagen…

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We’re off to lunch with Bjorg and Martin of Europa now, and then we’ll be back to the competition stage to see how things are shaping up. Be sure to check back here often, as Ken and I will be bloggin’ our brains out all week long. Thanks once again to our generous sponsors for making this spcial WBC blog coverage possible!

WBC Special Coverage Title Sponsor

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WBC Special Coverage Champion Sponsors

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