NATIONAL CHAMPION OF BRAZIL
EVERTON PENNING PETER
Everton’s giving us a great way to start the day: peppy, sultry Brazilian music and a bright set-up studded with red: red tamper, red grinder, red daisies on the tabe. He tells the judges that everything in use in his performance is from his country. Sig drink ingredients: guava, Brazilian pepper syrup and espresso. He tells the judges it will be a cold drink. Backtrack: his espressos are super cream heavy, nice to see, and his latte art atop the cappuccinos receives a big cheer from the crowd. And what about that crowd! It’s early and yet the chairs are full. Though I predict it will stay this way for the duration of the day, I’m betting there are a lot of Brazilian fans here, as well. He pours the bright red guava puree in the bottm of each glass, brings two chargers to the table. He has frothed his espresso in a whipper and added it to the top of the guava. Then the other charger, filled with a creamy cheese (that’s right, cheese!), tops the espresso foam. Last but not least, Everton adds a red chili pepper to each glass, which he instructs the judges to use t stor the drinks. It’s a lovely presentation of the drink he calls Bossanova Cafe. Cheer, Everton!
NATIONAL CHAMPION OF COSTA RICA
MANUEL ENRIQUE DINARTE GARRO
Manuel needs to relax! From the looks of his station, he’s perfectly prepared, but still his hands are shaking. That’s to be expected though — this is, after all, the biggest and toughest barista competition in the world! It’s been so wonderful to see so many producing countries here. Costa Rica is on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days, with its first 2 Cup of Excellence competitions going down in history as huge successes. Manuel is incredibly proficient with his milk texturing, and he makes sure the judges know it by pouring latte art table-side — nice touch! His signature drink is deliciously simple — more deets on that later! Bravo Manuel!
NATIONAL CHAMPION OF GERMANY
Thomas hails from Berlin and off the bat, he sounds totally tuned in to his coffee. And I’m totally digging his music! I gotta find out what this is. OK, it’s Moby’s Made of Stars. Onward: so Thomas has his espresso out and they are super thick and dark reddish. Lovely. He tells the judges that he’s switching espressos for his cappuccinos to a Malabar for both the crema it will afford and also the pairing he prefers with milk. He pours some really pretty hearts on his caps, nice definition. He says his signature drink is truly like a signature: fast and unique. It is, Thomas says, an orange vanilla espresso machiatto. I love the glasses he’s using — they’re like double walled glass mini goblets. Its a big success. Congratulations, Thomas!
NATIONAL CHAMPION OF LEBANON
CHARBEL ABOU MRAD
I’m sitting here with Tone Liavaag and we’re recalling what happened at the 2003 WBC in Trieste when the Lebanese barista champion (Jospeph, who is here today) took the stage. It seriously became a mosh pit of Lebanese fans. Insane. Joseph is ready to get it going again for Charbel; he’s been pacing in front of Charbel’s station as Charbel has been prepping, enthusiastically waving a giant Lebanese flag. I love this energy. Charbel tells the judges that his intention is to evoke all their senses with his presentation, and that his signature drink will be a return t nature. I like when he says, “This cup of espresso has its own personality.” Maybe it’s his cool accent. He tells the judges it will taste like bittersweet chocolate with traces of cinnamon. Yummy. He pours some spectacular rosettas on his cappuccinos. His signature drink combines several herbs, including lavender, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen used in competition. He also uses jasmine syrup– so unique. He goes to top the glasses with some thick cream, but he’s so nervous that his hand shakes enough to make him spill. But he recovers cause he’s a pro! Interestingly he uses a whipped to spray lavender air into some secondary glasses, and asks the judges to smell it before they taste the drink. It’s a very creative and enjoyable performance.
NATIONAL CHAMPION OF SWEDEN
I first met Daniel in Iceland a few years ago when he was on the Swedish Barista Team competing at the Nordic Barista Cup, and he was then as he is now a true pleasure to watch at the espresso machine. He knows coffee so well, and has grwn a lot since he was the Swedish Barista Champion four years ago. He has been working with Anne and Charles from Koppi on his espresso, and they roasted the beans he’s using today. I’m totaly curious as he tells the judges that they will be able to taste floral notes in the cappuccino — that’s a big promise. But Daniel’s certainly capable of pulling it off. He tells the judges he really wanted to create something entirely from scratch. He juices a pomagranite (sp?), which is something I’ve never even considered was possible to do. He combines it with sugar cane and pours in the espresso, then tops with crushed ice, ice and more ice. Finally he tops the drinks with pomegranite seeds, pops a straw in the top, and serves the judges, telling them not to be surprised if they feel like they are drinking a strawberry milkshake. Very nice job, Daniel!
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