#38: BARISTA CHAMPION OF IRELAND—COLIN HARMON
Today is the one-year anniversary of Colin becoming a barista. Prior to coffee, Colin was a successful financier—he had no reason to look for another career path. But he simply realized he loved coffee so much that he would like to pursue the barista life. And so he hung up his suit and tie and got a job. Now he is the Barista Champion of Ireland, the country from which Stephen Morrissey, 2008 WBC Champion, hails. Bravo, Colin. If not for the slight shaking of his hands, we’d never know that Colin was a bit nervous up there. He takes his work and passion for coffee incredibly seriously—anyone can see that.In fact, we find out during his post performance interview that he actually bought a Nuova Simonelli Aurelia for practice and has it set up in his spare bedroom in his apartment! As he serves his cappuccinos he tells the judges “adding anything to espresso is dangerous.” I like that he takes that seriously. For his signature drink he combines flavors he has found in his coffee—salt, cherry… he actually creates a creme anglais on stage, and combines it with a bit of seaweed, which he tells the judges they won’t tsate — its just for depth of textue in the drink. Overall, a great performance from Colin! (Doesn’t hurt that he playd Belle & Sebastian either! And a shout out to my dad—Colin used an Aeropress, Dad’s favorite coffee toy).
#39: BARISTA CHAMPION OF DENMARK—MORTEN WINTHER VESTENAA
Morten’s head is so narrow that the microphone keeps slipping off! Luckily, it’s fixed before he begins his performance. Talk about pressure—this guy hails from the country from which more WBC champions have hailed than anywhere else. And yet he doesn’t seem fazed a bit. He is using coffee from the Coffee Collective in Copenhagen, trained by some of the best coffee guys (and guys period) we know: Klaus, 2006 WBC champion, and Casper, 2008 World Cup Tasting champion. But this competition is all Morten’s—he knows this coffee inside and out, as he tlls the judges when he explains his coffee, noticng subtle characteristcs such as jasmine and strawberry. Very well done, Morten.
#40: BARISTA CHAMPION OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
Gwilym comes from London, and he’s an Englishman through and through—he actually lives on a boat with his dog, and runs two very successful coffee carts in the city. With him here in Atlanta are James and Anette, owners of Square Mile Coffee Roasters, a certain darling of the specialty coffee industry. James and Anette are terrific about not putting pressure out, but Gwilyms well aware that the past two WBCs were won by baristas using Square Mile—Stephen Morrissey in 2008, and James himself in 2007. But Gwilym’s been using this coffee for long enough that hes got a firm handle on things all on his own. He tells the judges that in the espresso they will taste buttered toast, black currant jelly, juicy fruit and a caramel finish. In his cappuccinos, he says there will be a jammy sweetness and a caramel toffee finish. For Gwilym’s signature drink, he has the judges pick the ingredients from an envelope of choices—he says there will be a possibility of 256 different drinks, depending on what they choose. And the choices are: honey, hazelnuts, butter and cherry. Very well done, Gwilym.