WBC Countdown: Barista Champion of Colombia Ronal Harvey Valero Balaguera



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Barista Mag: Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?

Ronal: I studied to be a systems technician.

BMag: How did you get started in coffee?

Ronal: I was just looking for a job.

BMag: What was your first amazing experience with coffee?

Ronal: Sharing knowledge with coffee growers at a Cup of Excellence event.

BMag: Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?

Ronal: I have had a lot of people help me to improve my performance.

BMag: What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?

Ronal: The interaction between growers and baristas should be stronger.


BMag: Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:

Ronal: I would like to meet Tim Wendelboe. I like the way he trains baristas.

BMag: Name a barista you admire, and why:

Ronal: I admire Fritz Storm. He teaches the more important thing: the passion.

BMag: Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?

Ronal: The cafes belonging to the world champions. Certainly they should be the best.

BMag: Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?

Ronal: Ethiopia because I would like to know about the true origin of coffee.

BMag: What are your interests outside of coffee?

Ronal: I like to play soccer.

BMag: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Ronal: Sharing this experience with my team.

BMag: Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?

Ronal: First of all, God, and then all the people that helped me to do this.



About the Author


Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.