#32: BARISTA CHAMPION OF THAILAND—BENYAPA NAOWAN
Benyapa Naowan tells us that her whole performance will be “sweet and charming, like I am,” and I have to agree. She’s wonderfully adorable but still maintains a strong command of the stage. She has made a point to learn some English to address the judges and welcome them, after which she launches into Thai. She has a translator with her. I think it’s great that, even with a translator, she has gone to the trouble of learning a little English. I’m afrai I couldn’t understand a lot of her discussion, but her signature drink was one of the most interesting I’ve seen: two glasses, one inside the ther, the lower one filled with dry ice, the top one with a cream, orange and espresso mixture. It was a lovely presentation.
#33: BARISTA CHAMPION OF HUNGARY—ATTILA MOLNAR
Attila is a familiar face to those who were in Copenhagen fr the 2008 World Barista Championship. His performance there was very good, but he outdid himself this year, in my opinion, with a complex and creative pumpkin based signature drink. Before we get to that, however, take into consideration the fact that Attila decided to use a single origin espresso for his presentation—a Beloya from Yirgacheffe. His passion and love for this coffee really came through in his presentation, too. He toasted freshly slized pumpkin in a pan, and cooked grated pumpkin in butter, water and pure, organic maple syrup. He also used fresh chilled blueberries and cream in the drink, and served it in these adorable little bowls. Great job, Attila.
#34: BARISTA CHAMPION OF SPAIN—FRANCISCO JAVIER GARCIA FUNEZ
Spanish Barista Champion Francisco Javier Garcia Funez mde the bold choice to use a Papau New Guinea for his single origin espresso. We love it when competitors take risks like that! And obviously, he knws what he is doing with coffee. He said his cappuccinos would have toasty flavors and also the distinctness of chocolate milk. For his signature drinks, Francisco Javier combines cacao with coconut milk, and created a ginger reduction in a vac pot. It was a visul pleasure to behold. Great job, Francisco Javier!