World Barista Championship FINALIST #6
COLIN HARMON OF IRELAND
One year and one day ago, Colin started his first barista job. That is to say, ne year ago, he didn’t know how to turn an espresso machine on. He as a trustee officer for a financial institution, and he realized that cffee had somehow become more of a passion than the hobby it had previously been, so he traded in his suit and tie for an apron, and began pulling shots at Coffee Angel.
One year later, he’s on stage in the World Barista Championship finals, an unbelievable accomplishment for veteran baristas, but an unheard of success for a one-year-old barista. He tells the judges that he is using a Bolivian washed and sundried coffee that is 80 percent typica and 20 percent catura. At the judges table, Colin begins a bit of his signature drink prep, simply adding some water to each of two small brass saucepans.
As he serves his judges their espressos, he says that on the nose they will note sweet dark sugars, toffee and even malt. And in the mouth they will enjoy a tart acidity at the end. On the second set of espressos, he’s unhappy with his shots, so he makes them again. At the judges table, he says, “Sorry about the delay, but there’s no point in coming all this way and serving bad coffee.” Well done, Colin.
As he serves his cappuccinos, he tells the judges that they will experience the same favors as the espresso but that the favors are somewhat “masked by the milk.” He suggests to them that, in the cup, they look for the toffee and malt notes. He then tells them that he really loves the fact that the WBC changed the rule about serving all drinks at nce to allow competitors to serve 2 at a time. He says this allows him to really represent the coffee in its best way, as the producers themselves would want it served.
Colin then launches into his signature drink section. He tells the judges that “I think adding anything to espresso is dangerous.” He says that his objective is to simply raise the flavors that already exist in his espresso, by adding simple complementary ingredients. He prepares a cream with eggs and Ugandan vanilla nd serves it to the judges in a small glass, but asks that they hold off on drinking it for the moment. He then combines the two reductions he has made in the saucepans—a sour cherry, and an extraction of sugar from a particular berry (we’ll have cmplete details on all ingredients in the June/July issue of Barista Magazine, don’t worry!) as well as, get this, seaweed. He assures the judges that they won’t taste the seaweed, that it is merely there to add depth and richness to the drink.
He then serves the espresso portion of the drink to the judges in another glass. He “nudges” the espresso just a bit by adding the reductions from the side to the glass. He instructs the judges to drink the coffee this way: stir the espresso, then slurp a bit of it, as you would in cupping, and then take a sip of the cream. Then sip the espresso again.
From here all I can think is, I want some! Colin has done a truly brilliant job. It’s so wonderful o see. Ken and I ran into Colin’s parents at the breakfast room in our hotel this morning, and they were wearing Team Ireland tshirts. It’s so nice to see so much pride and accomplishment from such a terrific guy. All the best, Colin.