#50: BARISTA CHAMPION OF NORWAY—ODA MISJE HAUG
Oda is only 18 years old! You wouldnt know it by the level of professionalism of her performance, however—she’s incredibly knowledgable about her coffee, a washed Colombian she thoroughly understands. Her service is sweet and charming as she tells the judges that she will introduce them to this coffee first by serving them some of its “juice”—which is an extraction of the dried fruit from the actual coffee. She serves this to them in small juice glasses and invites the judges to taste it as a hint toward her signature drink. After serving the first set of espressos, she returns to the Aurelia and begins to make her second set, but she is dissatisfied with them, and she throws them out and tries again. It’s always so nice to see such dedication and this striving for perfection. Her signature drink is what she calls an inverted cappuccino: at the bottom of each of four small glasses, she pours a small amount of cold milk. On top of this, she dispenses a foam from a whipped cream dispenser, which is made from a coffee cherry reduction and maple syrup. She tells the judges to take the first sip of the foam and hold it in their mouth for a few second, then follow with a swig of the cold milk “to soften the edges.” It’s a terrific performance for Norway.
#51: BARISTA CHAMPION OF POLAND—IZABELA POPIOLEK
Izabela is delightful to watch, and its because she’s charming but moreso because she has such a firm grasp on her coffees. She is using five different coffees which include (I’m sorry—I couldn’t catch all of them due to her accent) a Costa Rican for balance and body, a Brazilian for its strong sweetness, a Kenya AA for its strong aroma, and a Nicaraguan for its floral notes and slight bitterness. Izabela was a hit for a lot of reasons but her signature drink creativity was a big one: she combines crushed violets with espresso, and even followed the theme through in the creation of her glassware: she had actually created edible goblets made of sugar and violet. Wonderful performance, Izabela!