And we’re off! The 2016 World Barista Championship in Dublin, Ireland in underway. This year’s World Barista Championship is the biggest one ever, with sixty-two competing nations vying for the Grand Prize. Today, thirty-one of the world’s best baristas make at least twelve drinks, one by one, fifteen minute espresso slug-fest after fifteen minute espresso slug-fest. Twelve hours, 372 FRIGGIN DRINKS, and we’re there, tweeting and Facebooking and Instagramming and blogging and photographing and screaming and cheering and crying.

Who will advance to Semi-Finals on Friday? At least twelve baristas. MAYBE MORE? Probably not, that’s not usually how it works. BUT YOU NEVER KNOW! Enjoy our coverage of day one, round one. More to come.

Livestream info is here. 

Sprudge.com’s coverage of the 2016 World Barista Championship is made possible by Urnex BrandsNuova Simonelli, and KitchenAid.

Christian Aramburo, BUNA, Austria – 429.5 pts

Christian Aramburo - BUNA - Austria 1

Number of years as a barista: 7

Number of competitions: 3
Austrian Barista Championship: 2015 (3rd), 2016 (1st)
Austrian Latte Art Championship: 2016 (3rd)

Coffee: a natural processed Gesha from Panama

Signature Beverage: chilled espresso, apples, and hops

Christian Aramburo - BUNA - Austria 2

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
Around 300 hours

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
The best barista school of El Salvador, Academia Barista Pro. The owner and my personal coach, Jonathan Rodríguez will be supporting me in Dublin.

Natalia Piotrowska, Independent, Ireland – 476.5 pts

NATALIA PIOTROWSKA, INDEPENDENT, IRELAND01

Number of years as a barista: 8

Number of competitions: 7
Irish Barista Championship: 2015 (1st), 2016 (1st)

Coffee: Sudan Rume (washed) from Armando Fernandez, Colombia  + Sudan Rume (natural) from Camilo Merizalde, Colombia

Signature Beverage: Apple infusion, smoked plum reduction, panela sugar, and ice cube

NATALIA PIOTROWSKA, INDEPENDENT, IRELAND02

Does your routine have a theme?
Connecting small communities and making speciality coffee accessible for everyone

What’s your playlist going to be?
Parra for Cuva – Majoure
Grammatik – Muy Tranquilo
Curtis Harding – Keep On Shining
Hot Chip – These Chains

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
I’ve been preparing for months. I have no idea how many hours, though

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
Sasa Sestic, the current World Barista Champion coached me this year, and Konrad Kwiatkowski, who has been in competition mode with me since 2011

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I was born in Poland. In 2008 I moved to Ireland and started competing in barista competitions in 2011. I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for last 8 years at different managerial levels. I’m fascinated by the world of coffee and its potential.

Ricardo Avendaño, Independent, Costa Rica – 374 pts

Ricardo Avendaño - Independent - Costa Rica01

Number of years as a barista: 7

Number of competitions: 4
Costa Rican Barista Championship (4x)

Coffee: A red honey processed Geisha from Volcan Azul Farm in the West Valley Region of Costa Rica produced by Alejo Castro

Signature Beverage: Raisin, hazelnut, pecan syrup

Ricardo Avendaño - Independent - Costa Rica02

Does your routine have a theme?
It is about the involvement of the Barista during the complete process from the plant to the cup

What’s your playlist going to be?
We chose some chill out music to allow for easy comunication with the judges

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
At this moment it is a little bit complicated to estimate, but I started with my work on November last year, visiting three different farms where I tried 9 coffees. The practice started in April with the roasted coffees, from which I finally chose this Geisha

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
Rebeca Moya, who has been part of other competitions before, in Vienna, Australia, and Rimini. Now she has started a new business as an exporter of specialty coffees from Costa Rica with my other coach.

Ricardo Azofeifa has competed as a Barista Champion in Costa Rica. He competed in Colombia 2011 and Viena 2012, in both events he had the chance to be in Semifinals.
Rebeca, Ricardo, and I have been friends for many years, and 4 years ago we became a team to compete in WBC. We have been working together since then.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I am really grateful for all the people we found here in Ireland. We were lucky enough to find in a great roaster named Fergus who has been helping us during this past week with everything for our competition. He even put us in contact with Urbanity, a place that has the same roaster as the one we use back home. The warmth we received in Dublin was amazing. I have been learning a lot from this community.

Laurynas Arlauskas, Coffee Hill, UAB “Ipek Trade”, Lithuania – 410 pts

Laurynas Arlauskas - Coffee Hill - Lithuania01

Number of years as a barista: 1

Number of competitions: 1
Lithuanian Barista Championship: 2016 (1st)

Coffee: It’s produced by Astrid Medina Pereira at the Buenavista farm in the Tolima region of Colombia

Signature Beverage: Pectin-free juices of fruits and cold infusion green jasmine tea

Laurynas Arlauskas - Coffee Hill - Lithuania02

Does your routine have a theme? How varieties shapes flavors of coffee

What’s your playlist going to be? Fun, groovy sounds 🙂

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
I enjoyed every minute of my preparation!

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
My coach is Viktorija Kuktorovaitė, who is very experienced and creative. She taught me lots of things about coffee, championships, and pushed me to seek perfection! Amazing person to meet! I am very grateful for her!

Is there anything else you want to to begin!
I just cannot wait for the show to begin!

JARNO PERÄKYLÄ, KAHVILA SÄVY, FINLAND – 400.5

JARNO PERÄKYLÄ - KAHVILA SÄVY - FINLAND01

Number of years as a barista: 3

Number of competitions: 5
Finnish Barista Championship: 2014 (3rd), 2015 (3rd), 2016 (1st)
Finnish Aeropress Championship: 2014 (2nd)

Coffee: The 2016 harvest of Ninety Plus’ Perci, a natural processed Panama gesha roasted by Bean & Burner

Signature Beverage:
Espresso, basil, coriander seed syrup, salt, peach juice, and ice. It might sound weird but it’s super delicious! 

JARNO PERÄKYLÄ - KAHVILA SÄVY - FINLAND02

Does your routine have a theme?
I’m presenting my vision about the barista’s role between a coffee professional with advanced knowledge and a steward of customer service. 

What’s your playlist going to be?
It’s a simple playlist of songs that fit into a competition routine. No barista routine is complete without one track by Daft Punk.

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
For this routine I’d say somewhere around 50 hours of intensive training. Of course there’s loads of other work as well I’ve done for this that I can’t put into working hours.

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
My girlfriend Kaisa Kokkonen is my main coach who has been going through rules and old routines with me for three years now. She’s also a barista and super talented one. My coffee was roasted by Petri Nieminen from Bean & Burner and he has taught me basically everything about coffee in the beginning. I also have very supportive group of work friends who have all helped me in one way or another. I am very lucky that way.

KEITH KOAY, VCR CAFÉ, MALAYSIA – 393 pts

KEITH KOAY - VCR CAFÉ - MALAYSIA01

Number of years as a barista: 2

Number of competitions: 3
Malaysia Barista Championship: 2015 (4th), 2016 (1st)
Malaysia Brewers Cup: 2015 

Coffee: Buenavista from Colombia by Astrid Medina

Signature Beverage:
Cacao nibs, tea, agave syrup, orange reduction, and a secret aromatic spray!

KEITH KOAY - VCR CAFÉ - MALAYSIA02

What’s your playlist going to be?
Lea Rue – Sleep, For The Weak!
Hudson Thames – How I Want Ya
Disclosure – Latch
Two Door Cinema Club – This Is The Life

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition? 300??

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
He is Joey, Joey roasted my coffee, Joey spent alot of time roasting kickass coffee. Be like Joey Mah.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
Special thanks to Andrew Lee for opportunity and support, Joey Mah for guidance and all the efforts, Adly Soh for being best bro. I love you all.

Dawn Chan, The Cupping Room, Hong Kong – 456.5 pts

Dawn Chan - The Cupping Room - Hong Kong01

Coffee: Gesha from Café Granja la Esperanza Cerro Azul of Colombia

Dawn Chan - The Cupping Room - Hong Kong02

Signature Beverage: Cold pressed grape juice fermented for 48 hours, hibiscus black tea, gesha, all carbonated served slightly cool

Sam Low, Code Black Coffee, New Zealand – 409.0 pts

Sam Low - Code Black Coffee - New Zealand01

Number of years as a barista: 5

Number of competitions: 8-10? I’ve lost count
New Zealand Barista Championship: 2013 (10th), 2015 (2nd), 2016 (1st)
New Zealand Latte Art Championship: 2012 (3rd), 2013 (1st)
World Latte Art Championship: 2013 (6th)

Coffee: A natural processed Geisha from Las Margaritas in Colombia

Signature Beverage: Maggie’s Story
Green grape Juice, espresso, rehydrated green apple foam, and aromatic air made from a rose bud, marigold, and Geisha flower tea infusion and dry ice

Sam Low - Code Black Coffee - New Zealand02

Does your routine have a theme?
Its about the current unapproachable language of specialty coffee and about how we can use different methods to present and showcase specialty to our consumers to help bridge the gap from cup to consumer, ending the chain of specialty from seed to cup. It was inspired by the fine dinning industry.

What’s your playlist going to be?
Grimes – Entrophy
Shura – Whats it gonna be
Beyonce – Daddy Lessons
Family of the year – Hero
Beyonce – Formation (Instrumental)

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
I’ve been averaging 3-4 hours a day for the past 3 months

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
Archie Chiu: Operations Manager at Code Black Coffee
Q grader and my coffee master, my budgets accountant (strict budget control officer), he loves Radiohead and secretly Taylor Swift, and his face is on my tamper

Brydon Price: Qualified WBC Head Judge
Q grader, master taster of all things tasty, and my advisor (who constantly checks up on me to see if I’ve been listening to his advice)

Allan Yeh: Head Roaster at Code Black Coffee
Ensures any Browning of my beans are done to precision, super chill, and an all round nice guy

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I want to talk about how I came about my routine and why I think its important to the industry now.
Coffee is a complex product (we don’t need to get into detail how complex it is). After being in the industry a while, I’ve learned a lot about this bean, however the friends I hang out with are, I would say “specialty coffee consumers,” but they don’t work in the industry. After many discussions about coffee with them, the biggest problem that they have faced with specialty coffee was how unapproachable the language is. They got into it because I had to explain to them the complexity of coffee using different methods of transferring coffee information to something that they would understand.

I am a big fan of the Fine Dining industry as they have established a separation from what is fine and what isn’t. As a consumer of fine dining, I find it fascinating how approachable it is, even though we don’t know much about the process or information of the dish or meal. The language they use is simple. For example, a typical fine dining dish would mention 3 or 4 of the ingredients used in the dish, they let the flavours do most of the talking.

Its the combination of the two that inspired me to compete with this routine and concept, along with the help of friends and coworkers who are also fans of the gastronomic world of finer things.

Anca Arhip, Origo Coffee Shop, Romania – 331.5 pts

Anca Arhip - Origo Coffee Shop - Romania01

Number of years as a barista: 2

Number of competitions: 1
Romanian Barista Championship: 2016 (1st)

Coffee: A naturally processed Ethiopia Nekisse.

Signature Beverage: My signature beverage is very simple. The components are water and coffee

Anca Arhip - Origo Coffee Shop - Romania02

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
I’ve practiced for a few months, sometimes 8 to 10 hours a day.

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
I have 3 coaches: Panfil Mihai, Vlad Buda, and Ursan Dan. They have a lot of experience in the specialty coffee industry and they are great examples for me.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I think the specialty coffee industry has been growing a lot lately, and we have to stay united as a community and support each other in order to innovate and keep high standards of quality, in coffee and the services we offer around it.

Martin Karabinos, Leroy Bar, Slovakia – 363.5 pts

Martin Karabinos - Leroy Bar - Slovakia01

Number of years as a barista: 5

Number of competitions: 7
Slovak Barista Championship: 2016 (1st)
Czech Aeropress Championship: 2013 (2nd)
Slovak Aeropress Championship: 2014 (1st)
World Aeropress Championship: 2014 (2nd)
Slovak Latte Art Championship: 2014 (1st), 2016 (2nd)
Slovak Cup Tasters: 2015 (2nd)

Coffee: The Panama Percy from Ninety Plus

Signature Beverage: Cherry puree and walnut water

Martin Karabinos - Leroy Bar - Slovakia02

What’s your playlist going to be?
Awolnation – Sail (Instrumental)
Disclosure – Help Me Lose My Mind
Flume & Chet Faker – Drop The Game
Disclosure feat. Eliza Doolittle – You & Me

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
I started light preparation when I won nationals in november 2015, but intensive training began a month ago

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
I am cooperating with several people. But the most important coach is my guest. I always try to make the best cup.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
This will be my first time at the WBC as a competitor. I am going to enjoy every moment in there.

Natalka Ostapyuk, Svit Kavy, Ukraine – 361.0 pts

Natalka Ostapyuk - Svit Kavy - Ukraine01

Coffee: a sun-dried coffee from Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia

Natalka Ostapyuk - Svit Kavy - Ukraine02

Signature Beverage: Dried strawberry syrup, fresh coconut water, and ice

Leonardo Moço, Café de Moço, Brazil – 363.0 pts

Leo Moco - Cafe de Moco - Brazil01

Number of years as a barista: 11

Number of competitions: 17
Rio de Janeiro Regional Barista Championship: 2006 (1st), 2007 (1st), 2008 (3rd)
Brazilian Barista Championship: 2005 (22nd), 2006 (6th), 2007 (8th), 2008 (5th), 2009 (10th), 2011 (6th), 2012 (5th), 2013 (1st), 2014 (3rd), 2015 (1st)
World Barista Championship: 2014 (49th)
Brazilian Brewers Cup Championship: 2012 (2nd), 2013 (2nd), 2015 (3rd)

Coffee: It’s a Typica cultivar called Sumatra from Paraná in South Brazil, made with a new protocol I have created

Signature Beverage:
10 g of 31°Bx coffee mucilage mixed with 50g cold brew of dried coffee cherry infusion

Leo Moco - Cafe de Moco - Brazil02

Does your routine have a theme?
It’s about my journey on becoming a coffee producer and my new protocol to produce specialty coffees in my region called RedFoot

What’s your playlist going to be?
Tim Maia’s songs 

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
Since April, over 60 hours

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
Estela Cotes (my wife and the Brazilian Brewers Champion), Marcia Shimosaka ( Q Grader) and Fabio Ferreira (Notes Coffee Roasters in London)

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
This is my first year as a coffee producer, and I have this huge challenge to represent Brazil in the WBC. I’ve been studying coffee for over 10 years, and I have a degree in Nutrition with studies in Microbiology, which brought me to learn more about fermentation and processing in general. Last year, I started working with small producers in Paraná to understand how we can produce specialty coffee in a region that wouldn’t be thinkable due to its low altitude. That’s why I created the RedFoot project. It’s a new protocol to produce specialty coffee anywhere, using processing in our favor. The results are really amazing and surprising! This is the first time in WBC history that anyone has used a coffee from Paraná. And for sure, you’ll be thrilled!

Stefanos Paterakis, Taf, Greece – 444.5 pts

Stefanos Paterakis - Taf - Greece01

Number of years as a barista: 10

Number of competitions: 3
Greek Barista Championship: 2015 (1st), 2016 (1st)
World Barista Championship: 2015

Coffee: Lactic acid fermented coffee from La Palma y El Tucan in Colombia

Stefanos Paterakis - Taf - Greece02

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
8 to 9 hours a day for about 3 months

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
It’s Stefanos Domatiotis

Mads Mark-Eriksen, La Cabra Coffee, Denmark 372.5

Mads Mark-Eriksen - La Cabra - Denmark01

Number of years as a barista: 3

Number of competitions: 1
Danish Barista Championship: 2016 (1st)

Coffee: Natural Geisha from La Palma Y El Tucan, Colombia

Signature Beverage: The Tropical Gin & Tonic Explosion
Yuzu Juice Caviar, Espresso, Passionfruit syrup

Mads Mark-Eriksen - La Cabra - Denmark02

Does your routine have a theme? Transparency and Brightness in the final cup

What’s your playlist going to be? A mix made by local Aarhus-DJ and BFF ‘Dj Sports’ (Milán Zaks)

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
I haven’t counted, but enough hours to be feeling confident and ready!

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
The entire La Cabra team has been very helpful. I am travelling with Michael, the fiancée of two-time Austrian barista champion and Barista Magazine cover star Sonja Zweidick!

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
Brighter is better.

Diego Mejía, Isveglio, Ecuador – 390.5

IMG_4772

Number of years as a barista: 2

Number of competitions: 5
Ecuador Barista Championship: 2015 (1st), 2016 (1st)
World Barista Championship: 2015 (46th)
Fushan Cup Barista Competition: 2015

Coffee: A Typica from La Papaya in Saraguro, Ecuador that has been processed in different ways (fully washed and natural)

Signature Beverage:
Cold brew, apple Juice, hazelnut reduction, and lactic acid bacterias

IMG_4775

Does your routine have a theme?
Management in a farm as a crucial fact for producing high quality coffee

What’s your playlist going to be?
One national theme and then indie rock mostly

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
I have no idea!! But it’s never enough

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
More than coaches they are my supporters! Juan is my producer, all the credits are for his farmers and him. David is my friend who introduced me to the coffee world and gave the chance to be here, and Juan is my roaster and mentor.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I’ve been working on this for a long time now. I’ll do my best to make that time worth it. I dedicate this to my whole country, specially those who were affected by the earthquake last April. This is for you!

Martin Seven Shabaya, Artcaffe Coffee and Bakery, Kenya – 404.5

Martin Shabaya - Artcaffe - Kenya02

Number of years as a barista: 5

Number of competitions: 7
Kenyan Barista Championship: 2014 (2nd), 2015 (1st), 2016 (1st)
African Barista Championship: 2015 (2nd), 2016 (1st)
World Barista Championship: 2015 (43rd)
Fushan Cup International: 2015 (12th)

Coffee: A French mission Bourbon from Kenya

Signature Beverage: Goodnight Kenya
Red seedless grapes, grapefruit, and cardamon

Martin Shabaya - Artcaffe - Kenya01

What’s your playlist going to be? Instrumental music with a twist of Coldplay

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition? 150

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
Naomi, Edward, Catherine, and Brenda

Yoshikazu Iwase, Rec Collective Co., Japan – 478.0

Yoshikazu Iwase - Rec Coffee - Japan02

Number of years as a barista: 10

Number of competitions: 10
Japan Barista Championship: 2010 (semi-finalist), 2011 (3rd), 2013 (semi-finalist), 2014 (1st), 2015 (1st)
World Barista Championship: 2015 (7th)
Asia Barista Championship: 2012: 4th

Coffee: Ethiopia and Panama, both from Ninety-Plus

Signature Beverage: Espresso, apple, and passion fruit

Yoshikazu Iwase - Rec Coffee - Japan01

Does your routine have a theme? Interweaving coffee

What’s your playlist going to be?
Hot Chip, Computer Magic, the Avalanches, Alabama Shakes, The GO! Team, Neon Indian, and DeDe Mouse

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
Sooooooo many hours!

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
Yoshiharu Sakamoto he has been my coach for a long time! 

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I hope everyone enjoys all the good coffee here at the WBC!

Pablo Caballero, Hola Coffee & Coffee Cooking Studio, Spain – 395.5

Pablo Caballero - Hola Coffee - Spain01

Number of years as a barista: 4

Number of competitions: 1
Spanish Barista Championship: 2016 (1st)

Coffee: Ethiopia Nekisse N2, batch 20 from Ninety Plus

Signature Beverage: The Fresh Prince
Espresso, peach puree, a cold brew of a lighter roasting profile of the same coffee, and a mint garnish, served over ice made of the same mixture.

Pablo Caballero - Hola Coffee - Spain02

Does your routine have a theme? What makes things special?

What’s your playlist going to be?
Jamie XX – Obvs
Fatboy Slim – Praise You
RJD2 – Ghostwriter
Django Django – Default
DJ Raff – Latino and Proud
Mulatu Astatke – Yegelle Tezeta

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
I started practicing last July and the routine is almost the same for Worlds as it was for Nationals. So every weekend until January, then 2 months working only for the Spanish Championship, and then 2 more months for the worlds. I can’t even say how many hours!

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
Felix Donosti, a senior technical judge, Q-grader and SCAE trainer. He is very hard as a coach, but you learn a lot of his experience and you also have a few good laughs with him.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
Specialty coffee is alive in Spain (with a few years’ delay). It’s specialty coffee reinassance. Come see us!

Sergey Mitrofanov, Double B Coffee & Tea, Russia – 421.0 pts

SERGEY MITROFANOV - DOUBLE B COFFEE AND TEA- RUSSIA01

Coffee: A red and yellow Caturra from Buenavista in Tolima, Colombia

Signature Beverage: Frozen fermented peaches, espresso, and dry ice

SERGEY MITROFANOV - DOUBLE B COFFEE AND TEA- RUSSIA03

Music: Boney M. – Rasputin

HUGH KELLY, ONA COFFEE, AUSTRALIA – 489.5 ptsHUGH KELLY - ONA COFFEE - AUSTRALIA 02

Number of years as a barista: 8

Number of competitions: 8
ACT Barista Championship: 2012 (1st), 2014 (3rd), 2015 (2nd)
NSW Barista Championship: 2013 (3rd)
ACT/NSW Barista Championship: 2016 (1st)
Australian Barista Championship: 2014 (5th), 2015 (4th), 2016 (1st)

Coffee: A Castillo variety processed two different ways from from producer Elkin Guzman El Mirador Farm and Ban-Export in Colombia

HUGH KELLY - ONA COFFEE - AUSTRALIA 01

Signature Beverage:
Freeze-concentrated fresh blackcurrants from Tasmania, freeze-dried fruits, and coconut sugar

Does your routine have a theme?
I really want to share my perspective on coffee from where I’ve been working over the last few years. I’ve been lucky enough to work as the head trainer of ONA Coffee, which is also closely involved with Project Origin, ONA’s sister green sourcing company. I have been working really hard with people from these areas to ensure extraction is not being used as a means of offsetting shortcomings of every step of the process leading up to the espresso machine, rather every step from the farm right through is contributing to a specific drink. This is being done in order to maximise the potential of an abundant varietal.

What’s your playlist going to be?
There’s bit of a mix, some Bonobo, Rolling Stones and Thundercat.

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
Not including for the Australian and regional competitions, 6-7 days per week, around 9 hours a day for the past 2 months. 400+ hours…

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
Last year I was Sasa Sestic’s training parter for WBC, which was a great experience, so this year he agreed to coach me. Its obviously very difficult, given he has the busiest year of his life as the current World Barista Champion. But the intermittent sessions I’ve spent with him have really helped me get over the competition ‘walls’ you inevitably hit in training. He has been really great to open my mind and to help me realise who I am and what I stand for in coffee. I have worked with Sasa since I started in coffee and he has always given me a lot of motivation to push for more.

Sam Corra (head roaster) and Danny Wilson (assistant roaster) also deserve big mentions. I’ve been working with them on the taste very closely and also bouncing ideas off the whole way through.

WAYNE OBERHOLZER, THE PORTLAND PROJECT, SOUTH AFRICA – 392.0 pts

WAYNE OBERHOLZER-THE PORTLAND PROJECT- SOUTH AFRICA01

Number of years as a barista: 9

Number of competitions: 5
South African Barista Championship: 2012 (1st), 2014 (8th), 2016 (1st)
World Barista Championship: 2014 (44th)
South African Cup Tasters: 2014 (1st)

Coffee: A fully washed, single day harvest reserve lot of 100% Caturra from Pedro Claros at Finca La Chorrera in Colombia

WAYNE OBERHOLZER-THE PORTLAND PROJECT- SOUTH AFRICA02

Signature Beverage:
Ice ball egg, cherry wood smoke, dark and crystal malt, and hop infused syrup.

Does your routine have a theme?
It’s about a journey from seed to cup, about our first interactions with specialty coffee at the cafe level. The espresso is all about the relationship between our roaster and farmer and then finally the sig is about barista’s influence in the whole link. We really try and condense 9 years of experience into 15 minutes.

What’s your playlist going to be?
Rogue Wave – Lake Michigan
Stateless – The Language
Parov Stelar- Catgroove
Goodluck – London Sixteen66
José González – Step Out

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
Upwards of 450

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
David Coleman. Dave left a promising corporate job to get a little more involved in coffee. His constant searching for knowledge and better understanding of the customer barista relationship has been a huge asset. He pushes me when I need it and gives me the reassurance when I most need it.

Gerald Charles AKA Doctor G. The Doc and I have known each other for almost 7 years. G came 5th in the world roasting challenge in 2012. He is also our roaster of Pedro, our coffee. The doc’s ability to pick flavour and bring his roasting knowledge to the table has been super helpful. He’s one of the most solid people I know. I can always rely on the Doc in a crisis.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
As the South African barista champion, I represent a proud nation. A young coffee nation with some really great and amazing roots. My aim is to show the world what South Africa can bring to the world of coffee.

I have been growing greatly in the last 9 years in coffee. I used to be a training commercial pilot. I kinda just fell into it. I used to drink instant coffee like 4 times a year with a shitload sugar and milk. But now I help people go down the same rabbit hole as I did, and guide them and teach them what makes our industry so amazing and beautiful.

JULIET VÁZQUEZ RIVERA, ARANDELA BARRA DE CAFÉ, MEXICO – 388.5 pts

JULIET VÁZQUEZ RIVERA - ARANDELA BARRA DE CAFÉ - MEXICO01

Coffee: The Best of Oaxaca winning coffee

JULIET VÁZQUEZ RIVERA - ARANDELA BARRA DE CAFÉ - MEXICO02

Signature Beverage: green apple pectin, espresso, and carbon dioxide

Sa Hong Kim, Coffee Temple, South Korea – 430.0 pts

SA HONG KIM - COFFEE TEMPLE - SOUTH KOREA01

SA HONG KIM - COFFEE TEMPLE - SOUTH KOREA02

Daniel Rivera, Hacienda San Pedro, Puerto Rico – 353.0 pts

Daniel Rivera - Hacienda San Pedro - Puerto Rico02

Number of years as a barista: 10

Number of competitions: 18
Puerto Rico Barista Championship (8x)
World Barista Championship (6x)
Puerto Rico Latte Art Championship (4x)

Coffee: It’s from Hacienda San Pedro, grown and produced by Mr. Roberto Atienza in Jayuya, Puerto Rico

Signature Beverage: Dried fruits (plums and Palm dates), orange peel, and black tea with bergamot oil

Daniel Rivera - Hacienda San Pedro - Puerto Rico01

Does your routine have a theme? The  theme is about how coffee flavor development is affected by the farm’s geographical micro-climate conditions and the effect that climate change has on it

What’s your playlist going to be?
The music selection was based on my Caribbean and Latin American cultural background. The playlist includes different rhythms and songs from the early 50’s to the late 70’s Puerto Rican music scene. It was compiled by a great musician and friend, Oscar Ortiz Matos.

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
Approximately a total of 780 hours, practicing for 4 hours, five days a week, 39 weeks is a row

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
My coach is Karla Ortega, with whom I’ve shared every achievement throughout my entire career, and who every single day demands more from this barista. She uses all her knowledge and experience as an artist, sculptor, barista and pastry chef to help me develop the concepts and visual details behind every presentation, thus making her an essential and key person in the realization of this goal. Everything you’ll see here was thanks to her. 

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
Three years ago, I began a project called “Bici-Cafe de Puerto Rico” in which I took my knowledge about coffee and industrial design and put it to the test by creating a way to brew coffee without any use of electrical power, using my bicycle as the working table. While I grind and brew coffee, I educate people about coffee related themes such as the coffee’s origin, it’s farmer, how its produced, which varietal it comes from, its flavor characteristics and the best way to brew it. This project has given me the opportunity to visit schools and demonstrate to children that there is a bright future in the coffee industry.

Nisan Agca, Independent, Turkey – 371.5 pts

NISAN AGCA - INDEPENDENT - TURKEY02

Number of years as a barista: 2

Number of competitions: 2
Turkish Barista Championship: 2015 (2nd), 2016 (1st)

Coffee: A natural processed Red Bourbon from El Salvador

Signature Beverage: The Soul of the Bourbon
Cherries, raspberries and panela sugar

NISAN AGCA - INDEPENDENT - TURKEY01

Does your routine have a theme? Love and attention to detail

What’s your playlist going to be?
Some soundtracks. One of them is from Grand Theft Auto 2. RJD2 and also Marcus Miller.

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition? 200

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I want to share a coffee that comes directly from farm. The farmer is a really good friend of mine and he produced this coffee just for me. I want to show how direct relationships affect the cup. Hope it all goes well.

Mathieu Theis, Independent, Switzerland – 331.5 pts

Mathieu Theis - Independent - Switzerland02

Number of years as a barista: 4

Number of competitions: 365
A babyccinno every morning for my daughter is a daily challenging competition

Coffee: I’m using two kinds of coffees from Costa Rica. For espresso, I’m using a coffee from the Tarrazu region, which is a hybrid of four different varieties, and for the milk course, I’m using a natural Geisha from Central Valley

Signature Beverage: Fast & Furious
Powdered sugar, paste honey, butter, 4 shots of espresso, and a coffee capsule

Mathieu Theis - Independent - Switzerland01

Does your routine have a theme?
My theme is playing coffee architect. A barista has to find the delicious combinations of different varieties, process, roast profiles and brew recipe

What’s your playlist going to be? Mostly electro French

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
Two hours a day for four months

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
I trained in the European coffee capital Jilove u Prahy, Czech Republic, with Petra Vesela and Gwilym Davies. They are role model baristas, inspiring, and the dream team.

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I love sharing this passion with other coffee lovers. The championships are therefore such a great opportunity to meet them and learn more! I am so looking forward to being on the stage in Dublin.

Berg Wu, Simple Kaffa, Taiwan – 483.0 pts

Berg Wu - Simple Kaffa - Taiwan01

Coffee: It’s from Finca Deborah in Panama

Berg Wu - Simple Kaffa - Taiwan02

Signature Beverage: Orange & honey reduction, Earl Grey tea, and mandarin essential oil

Mauricio Romero, Azahar Coffee Company, Colombia – 258.5 pts

MAURICIO ROMERO - AZAHAR COFFEE COMPANY - COLOMBIA01

MAURICIO ROMERO - AZAHAR COFFEE COMPANY - COLOMBIA02

Evgeni Pinchukov, Kitchen Coffee Roasters, Belarus

EVGENI PINCHUKOV - KITCHEN COFFEE ROASTERS - BELARUS02

Number of years as a barista: 4

Number of competitions: 3 or 4

Coffee: Ethiopia Tchembe from Ninety Plus roasted by Underdog Project

Signature Beverage: Coffee Stout
Lemongrass water, cherry syrup, 6 shots of my cold and long espresso, nitrogen dioxide, and ice

EVGENI PINCHUKOV - KITCHEN COFFEE ROASTERS - BELARUS01

Does your routine have a theme? It’s about my point of no return

What’s your playlist going to be? Nice music 😉

How many hours total do you think you’ve practiced for this competition?
It is impossible to calculate, I always practice

Do you have a coach/coaches? Tell us about them!
Yes,  a unique man! Nikolai Chistiakou. His beard is cool and he knows a lot about coffee

Is there anything else you want to tell us? We’d love to learn more about you.
I thought that the WBC is the last point. But now I realize that this is only the tip of the iceberg

Thanks for tuning in today to our live coverage of the World Barista Championship. We’re only halfway done with Round One, so check back tomorrow.