Editor’s note: As we approach the beginning of the 2014 World Barista Championship, which takes place in Rimini, Italy, June 9–12, at the SCAE’s World of Coffee event, we would like to introduce you to the National Barista Champions who all worked incredibly hard to earn a position in this preeminent coffee contest. Profiles of all 54 competitors will appear on Barista Magazine’s blog between Monday, June 2, and Monday, June 9, and can all be accessed under the category header “WBC 2014 Rimini.”
BARISTA CHAMPION OF BELGIUM
Charlene De Buysere
OR Coffee Roasters
Coach: Katrien Pauwels
About you: I am a barista/trainer in coffee. I started working for OR Coffee Roasters 5 years ago. OR Coffee Roasters is a small roastery in Belgium near Ghent; we only work with specialty coffee and tea. We have a team of about 23 people and 3 espresso bars, one in Ghent and two in Brussels. What I love about OR is the strenght of a team. Every individual counts! Every day I learn from our team. Feedback is what keeps you going and a personal passion for a beautiful product. I won the Belgium Aeropress championships in 2011; Belgium Brewerscup 2011; World Aeropress Championship in 2012; and Belgium Barista 2014.
How many years have you worked with coffee or in the coffee industry?
Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?
Interior Design/Architecture; Chef in a Restaurant
How did you get started in coffee?
I wanted to stay in Ghent after my studies and I needed a job while I was looking for a “real” job.
What was your first amazing experience with coffee?
Tasting my first Ethiopian coffee…
Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?
Katrien Pauwels. She taught me a lot and she kept me focused on the core business of “coffee” and not all the fancy stuff around it.
What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?
More focus on the plantation to save good coffee from the climate change.
Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:
Colin Harmon of 3fe Coffee. I like his personality.
Name a barista you admire, and why:
Rasmus Gamrath from Coffee Collective, because he works in coffee to share information, and sharing is caring!
Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.
Marc Didden. He is one of my biggest fans.
Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?
Coffee Collective roastery!
Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?
What are your interests outside of coffee?
Lure fishing with my husband.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still doing what I do now! Sharing good coffee.
Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?
Team OR, especially Jesica and Marianne who also competed in the Belgium championships and helped me out when I needed them.