This is the sixth—that’s right, SIXTH—time Stefanos has represented his country at the World Barista Championship. He’s come close to the crown before, but never quite reached it. So this past year, he made his entire life about this week in Vienna, and committed fully to presenting his exceptional coffee in a most exceptional way. Having watched Stefanos over the years, I must say that his performance today was the best I’ve ever seen.
He went to El Salvador, to Aida Batlle, and worked with a farmer she represents, Ernesto from La Florida in the Santa Ana mountains. He selected two processes of coffees to use in his presentation, and requested the cascara to use for his WBC performance’s signature drink, in addition to the beans for espresso.
He began his performance by brewing two Clevers, each with one of the different processes of cascara, into a tea, and offering that tea to the judges so they could experience the difference that processing can have on the same coffee.
He brought some of Greece together with El Salvador, here in Austria, by adding herbs and cloves grown on the Greek isle of Santorini, along the steep slopes of the volcano.
Stefanos, you’ve done us proud.