2015 World Barista Championship Semi-Finals Recap


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This is a complete recap for the Semifinal Round of the 2015 World Barista Championship, happening April 11th in Seattle, Washington.

1. Adam NeubauerEMA Espresso Bar, Czech Republic @EMAespressobar


“Every part of the coffee journey makes sense, and is important.”

Colombian caturra espresso from San Sebastian, Huila: “sweet citrus notes, clean taste, bright acidity”

Mr. Neubauer’s shifting coffees for his capps, serving El Salvador La Illusion: “sweetness and gentle acidity”


“separated espresso” here in Mr. Neubauer’s sig drink—preserving the crema and using it as an ingredient.

there’s a bit of tamarind reduction in play here, which Mr. Neubauer’s used to rim the lip of his glasses

2. Alexander HansenCollaborative Coffee Source, Norway @CollaborativeCS


“Let me draw your attention to Santa Barbara, Honduras” — this routine is origin themed and gives props to

2 coffees on 2 grinders with 2 different roast profiles for Mr. Hansen—both are washed Pacas from Honduras

this farm in Honduras has “an absence of wind, presence of sun, making for a slow maturation of the cherry”


espresso notes for Mr. Hansen: “notes of apricot, yellow raisins, dark chocolate, almond & a hop-like bitterness”

sig drink’s got green raisins, soaked in water for 12 hours, juiced and filtered, plus coffee cherry & espresso

3. Kalle Freese, Freese Coffee, Finland @KalleFreese


“Over the last few years we’ve seen fantastic improvements to nearly every aspect of making coffee.”

Kalle Freese is competing here with two distinct coffees: one from Malawi and one from El Salvador

On his Salvador La Illusion, says: “this is the perfect comfort coffee—sweet, balanced acidity, clean finish”


“bright grapefruit, pineapple, peach and cacao” notes in ‘s espressos — complex and singular.

for the espresso, a Malawi geisha — “it’s the perfect adventure coffee” — 21g in, 53g out — adventurous indeed, !

4. Ben PutMonogram Coffee, Canada @monogramco @putankhamun


“cupping generally favors bright coffees with a sparkling acidity, which works doesn’t favor espresso”

“i decided to turn that process on its head to source a coffee that would work best as espresso”

complex processing happening here for ‘s “exotic hybrid mocca”


we’re trying to figure out what kind of fancy tamper ‘s using here. it looks like a bench saw or something.

“today i will remove the bitterness and acidity of carbon dioxide by putting my espresso in a vacuum sealer.”


sig drink for : homemade pectin-tastic orange marmalade, passion fruit / pineapple / hops foam, espresso

5. Charlotte Malaval, France


“a barista competition is almost like going to University—it’s an excellent place to learn.”

Charlotte Malaval competes with a Yellow Bourbon from the Apaneca Region of El Salvador, pulped natural black honey process

“it’s all about temperature—I must not steam my milk over 55C to keep the sweetness in my milk” Charlotte Malaval of France


espressos for Charlotte Malaval evaluated in a series of sips: “marzipan aroma, sweet lime acidity…stone fruits, peaches…

sig drink for Charlotte Malaval has a cold component and a warm component: dried peaches, chilled espresso for the cold half

6. Giacomo VannelliPasticceria Vannelli, Italy @GiacomoVannelli


Mr. Vannelli’s serves Bolivia & Colombia coffees from throughout this routine, shifting between capp & espresso course

Caturra pulp natural Bolivian coffee by for capps from — “strawberry, raisins, and milk chocolate”

Giacomo Vannelli competes with the Mythos 1 grinder here at — Italian man, Italian machine. molto buono.


Sig drink for : Dragon brewer coffee and some complex espresso balanced by Dragon red globe grapes and blackberry

paging Todd Carmichael — your dragon is getting pumped right now on the WBC stage.

7. John Ryan Ting, A.R.C. Coffee, Singapore @JohnRyan11


“today I’m here to show what I’ve learned through my love of coffee”

Panama Finca Santa Teresa, grown by Toby Smith

“bright acidity, flavor of white peaches…and a lasting earl grey finish” in ‘s Panama Finca Santa Teresa espressos


“After judging, back on this side of the table, with every pour I am giving a visual score to myself…”

Sig drink for Mr. Ting: earl grey vanilla ice ball, espresso poured on top, peach & strawberry juice, agave nectar honey, more spro

8. Charles BabinskiGo Get Em Tiger / G&B Coffee, United States @charlesbabinski


This is Charles Babinski’s first career Semi-Finals appearance.

Mr. Babinski’s Ocotillo is paired w/ juniper syrup, grapefruit, & pine tree honey.

“vanilla, light raisin, and pine” flavors in the Honduras Ocotillo itself–whoops and roars from the crowd

the hook in this routine is: Embracing larger systems makes better coffee possible for small farms and cafes


Charles Babinski, always pre-grinding stuff.

espresso notes for “champagne, earl grey tea, & grapefruit…light to medium body, clean finish, silky mouthfeel”

9. Maxwell Colonna-DashwoodColonna & Smalls, United Kingdom @colonna_smalls


“We have the opportunity to be a bridge between our world of specialism & everyone else.”

“For the next 15 minutes I’d like to break the fourth wall, talk about the scoresheet, and speak your language”

Mr. Dashwood competes here at with a Colombia Gaitana roasted by —Tolima department, 100% washed caturra


“This coffee’s harmonious balance is driven by acidity…sweet and bright, tannic and complex”

sig drink is “Gaitana’s chilled alter ego” w/ pomegranite, cranberry, black grape skin, & walnut infusions


10. Chan Kwun HoThe Cupping Room, Hong Kong @dawn_cfu @TheCuppingRoom


“why is the best coffee not the best espresso?” Chan Kwun Ho gonna tell you.

‘s sous vide’ing that coffee at 45 degrees C for 30 minutes. doesn’t change chemical energy, makes molecules extractable


it’s a gesha variety coffee from Cerro Azul, in the Cauca department of Colombia

I just typed “sous vide geisha espresso” like that’s a normal thing to type but that is not a normal thing to type.


“bergamot, orange cream, and hints of milk tea” in ‘s geisha sous vide espressos

sig drink for includes espresso, Washington apple juice, amarillo hops, lady grey infusion, dry ice

11. Yoshikazu IwaseREC Coffee, Japan @y_iwase @REC_COFFEE


Here’s a Geisha Estates coffee from Panama for the Japanese champ

this coffee from went into a river in Panama for several days. “cold fermentation process”

“today I’m using the same extraction method for all of my shots — 23 grams in, 42 grams out, just 18 seconds”


“You will find flavors of peach and nougat in my cappuccinos” — mmm nougat.

sig drink for includes a 5 day apple infusion, dried geisha flower syrup, and Panama geisha espresso, filtered & iced

12. Sasa SesticONA Coffee, Australia @SasaSestic @ONACoffee


Mr. Sestic of is competing with a Colombian coffee by producer Camillo Merizalde, rare Sudan Rume variety

“plum and beach…a creamy mouthfeel and refreshing finish” for ‘s Sudan Rume espressos

a blend of 50% natural process & 50% washed carbonic maceration Sudan Rume in ‘s capps.


“amazing raspberries, and a hint of white chocolate” in ‘s capps. “I think this coffee is just delicious.”

panela sugar & plum fruit reduction, Shiraz juice, and Sudan Rume espresso, blended together for ‘s sig drink



Photos by Liz Clayton and Charlie Burt for Sprudge.com. Want to use our photos? Email us!

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