#28: BARISTA CHAMPION OF KENYA—JOHN MAKAU
John is the three-time Kenyan Barista Champion, and his experience shows immediately when he take the stage tday. He tells the judges that he is using coffee grown in the “sweet hills” of Kenya, and that they will taste a distinctive milk chocolate in the coffee. John serves his cappuccinos two by two, and tops them with precise latte art. For his signature drink, he combines melted milk chocolate with cardamom, cinnamon sticks, clove, and zest from a freshly grated orange. Unfortunately, John goes a bit over time, but with such a strong performance, he should be nothing but proud!
#29: BARISTA CHAMPION OF COSTA RICA—AUREN CHACON
At just 18 years of age, Auren is among the youngest World Barista Championship competitors ever! She comes from a coffee-producing family in Costa Rica, and is just crazy about coffee and education: she has made it her mission in Costa Rica to help communicate the efforts that families like hers make in producing exceptional coffees, to consumers. Her signature drink is very interesting in appearance (again, the presentation is all in Spanish, so I am at a bit of a loss). She uses wine glasses, and puts a foam made of honey, cream and grapefruit in each, hands them to the judges, and asks them to smell it. She then serves the second part of the drink, espresso. It’s a fantastic performance — truly a remarkable showing for a barista of any age.
#30: BARISTA CHAMPION OF INDIA—DANIEL FELIX
Daniel returns this year after a great performance at the 2008 WBC in Copenhagen. He is quick to note the many differences between this competition and last year’s—different machines (last year was La Marzocco, and now Nuova Simonelli is providing the espresso machines as the WBC sponsor), a larger space… so many things have changed. But you wouldn’t know Daniel had noticed any of those things from the stellar performance he gave. Daniel says his coffee will have a lot of caramel notes, and he dftly pours latte art on each drink. He serves his signature drink with snacks, which is traditional in India, he says, noting that when coffee is enjyed in the afternoon, bth sweet and spicy treats are served. So he has not only provided snacks like that, but combined those traditional flavors including chili and tamarind in his signature drink. The espresso is served over traditional Indian ice cream. Very nice, Daniel!
#31: BARISTA CHAMPION OF EL SALVADOR—FLOR DE MARIA GOCHEZ AYALA
Here’s something unbelievable: this is only the second year that El Salvador has ever had a barista champion at the WBC. Last year’s champion, Lily Pacas, is actually Flor’s employer at Viva Espresso in San Salvador, and the fact that they have worked together shows: Flor is put together and poised from the start. She is using a blend of three beans, including from Aida Batlle’s Cup of Excellence winning Finca Kilimanjaro. Aida, by the way, is sitting in the front row with El Salvador’s sizeable cheering section. Flor pours simply lovely latte art on each drink, and her signature drink preparation continues throughut her presentation. She exhibits terrific creativity by utilizing the under-used tangerine fruit with cream for her final course. Bravo, Flor!