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We reached out to each of the 2015 World Barista Championship competitors prior to their routines, to learn a bit more about them as competitors and coffee pros. We hope you enjoy these interviews!

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Name: Søren Stiller Markussen

Company: GreatCoffee

Country: Denmark

Number of years as a barista: 12

Number of competitions competed in: I lost count, but I think 12.
Danish Barista Championship: 1st (2008), 1st (2010), 1st (2014), 1st (2015)
World Barista Championship: Top 6 (2008), Top 5 (2010)
Danish Latte Art Championship: 1st (2011)
World Latte Art Championship: 2nd (2007)
Gold winner of European Coffee Team Challenge (2011)
Winner of World Best Coffee Nation (2008)

Competition Coffee: Finca Santa Petrona. The espresso I am serving  is the result of 6th generation craftsmanship and an intense three year collaboration with the Family Pacas in El Salvador. The Pacas family produces some of the most thorough, rounded, interesting coffees in the world.

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Signature Beverage: I have measured the pH values of each ingredient to find the perfect dosing. I am looking for a combination with a pH value of 5.5, which is the sweet spot for my espresso. To get a perfect viscosity and a rounded mouth feel, I covered 1 leaf verbena in candyfloss that disintegrates and blends in when I add the double espresso. The sugar is “neutral” but has the effect of lowering the acidity and gives the coffee a tactile mouth feel. Verbana also compliments the other ingredient – wood sorrel. Wood sorrel gives the drink a juicy apple note and the acidity that I am looking for. I will be using 5 ml, which is infused with sugar water. These 2 components together balance the sweetness and the aromas of the coffee.

The combination is best enjoyed when the temperature of the coffee is lowered close to body temperature.

Here is how to drink it:
Smell it.
Give a good swirl.
And then drink it.

You will experience a sweet, almost marzipan-like aroma. The  mouth feel is rich and silky with intense caramel and sweet chocolate notes. The finish is fresh with hint of apple puree and pear.

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Secret Weapon: Oxidizer 🙂

Routine Theme: In my world, the whole idea of a signature drink is to explore the potential and the range of the coffee. This relates to the core, the primary flavours of the coffee. How well does the coffee react to other ingredients? How far can it be pushed? So a signature drink is the ultimate test of ingredients that must complement each other. And for me represents the primary flavours of the coffee.

Total Practice Hours: My competition mode has never stopped.

Coach/Coaches: I don’t have a coach, but I have received a lot of inspiration from Federico Bolonaris and others that play a major part in my life – friends, family and customers.

Fashion: Just casual clothes.

Additional Notes: Never give up. You never know if you never tried. This is the approach to life tought to me by my big inspiration, Mr. Jan De Jong, 9th dan Ju-jitsu. Where there is a way, there also a detour.

Why do you think you’d make a great World Barista Champion?
My passion is to push the boundaries of coffee making in every stage of the process. I don’t consider myself a barista, but a coffee maker. I like to inspire people, both personal as well as professional. And during my whole carrier, I have always had focus on training people to be themselves and find the passion for their work.

Social Medias:
Twitter: @SorenStiller
Instagram: greatcoffee_aarhus