#10: BARISTA CHAMPION OF SINGAPORE–JHI CHIANG TING
John returns to the WBc stage after a great performance in Copenhagen last year. He is a true professional, the way he handles himself on stage. He begins his performance with some signature drink prep, infusing cream with vanilla. He tells the judges that his coffee is a blend of Sumatra, Guatemala, and Sidamo, and tells them he will explain more about why he chose the coffee he did in a bit. His music is thundering opera at the beginning, but it morphs into an electronica — hey, it’s the music from the movie, The Fifth Element! He shares an espresso tableside with his judges, and explains more about his coffee to them, saying the Sumatra is very popular with his customers. He has brought a different blend for his cappuccinos. Some beautiful cappuccinos are served. John serves his signature beverage in some interesting, small, hourglass shaped glasses. He strains the vanilla mixture and combines with his espresso for a creamy finish. Nicely done, John!
#11: BARISTA CHAMPION OF AUSTRALIA—TIM ADAMS
Team Australia is in the house! Tim Adams has set up a mini tropical rainforest on his table, and he welcomes his judges with a soundtrack of animal and jungle sounds. He explains his coffee, a Sumatra, a Papau New Guinea and Australian Mountaintop. He tells them they will taste brown sugar and deep cedar. Tim has really brought the outback to Atlanta this weekend. For his signature drink, he combines raspberry, hibiscus vinegar and Australian red gum honey. As he presents the drinks with a dusting, he tells the judges he has really brought the outback all the way here—”It’s going to get dusty,” he warns them!
#12: BARISTA CHAMPION OF JAPAN—AKIHIRO OKADA
Talk about a cheering section—Akihiro has brought a huge one to Atlanta, and he loves the crowd as much as they love him. He randomly treats the crowd to huge, ear-to-ear smiles, and he begins his performance with a huge bow, arms fully outstretched. He has prepared a dialogue which he delivers in a booming voice—i apologize that I still have a bit of trouble understanding him. What we’ve managed to gather is that he is using a natural Ethiopian coffee for sweetness. Akihiro is from Kyoto, and he proudly explains that his drink was inspired by his home town. For his signature drink, he begins by squeezing cherry syrup along the edges of the glasses, then he uses a brush to spread the syrup upwards so it looks like a cherry blossom. To this, he adds espresso and strawberry ice cream that he has created on stage. Bravo, Akihiro!