It all comes down to this. It’s taken three days to get here, but we’re down to the final six baristas and at the end of the day, we’ll know the new World Barista Champion. It’s been a whirlwind 72 hours here in Dublin, full of amazing coffees and even more amazing baristas competing at such a high level. Months and months of preparation have gone into making it this far, but now each barista has just 15 minutes to stake their claim on the title.

61 countries were represented on the competition stage, the largest field in the history of the World Barista Championship, but there are only six left: France, Japan, The Netherlands, USA, Canada, and Taiwan. These are back-to-back Finals appearances for the French and Canadian baristas, and in fact every competitor has been on the World stage before. Except for one: Lem Butler of the USA.

So who’s it gonna be? The savvy old vets or the new kid on the block, who is himself the savviest of experienced pros? We’ll know soon enough.

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

Livestream info is here. 

Charlotte Malaval, Ditta Artigianale, France

Charlotte Malaval - Ditta Artigianale - France 01

Alright and now, our first competitor — the barista champion of France

This is Charlotte Malaval’s second career WBC finals appearance—she placed 6th in the world last season.

Charlotte Malaval - Ditta Artigianale - France 02

Charlotte Malaval competes using a fully washed red bourbon coffee from Finca San Roberto in El Salvador

Charlotte Malaval - Ditta Artigianale - France 04

espressos: “bright plums acidity, notes of orange, floral, delicate, medium body with a silky & very smooth texture”

“a balanced drink with a small amount of milk” for ‘s milk course. much rhythmic clapping.

Charlotte Malaval - Ditta Artigianale - France 03

she’s achieving cherry realness by combining strawberry, basil, and cinnamon with espresso

Yoshikazu Iwase, Rec Collective Co., Japan

Yoshikazu Iwase - Rec Coffee - Japan 04

Yoshikazu Iwase competes using coffees from — from their Geisha Estate in Panama and Ethiopia

Yoshi Iwase personally helped process these coffees along with in Panama — hands on.

Yoshikazu Iwase - Rec Coffee - Japan 02

Geisha with “high florals and sweetness” balancing the Ethiopian coffee in his espresso blend—”interweaving coffees”

Yoshikazu Iwase - Rec Coffee - Japan 03

“mango, mandarin orange, and passionfruit” flavors in ‘s Carmen Miranda’s hat espresso here at

absolutely beautiful modular stage setting for — he pulls back drawers to reveal visual tasting notes

Yoshikazu Iwase - Rec Coffee - Japan 01

This sig drink for includes Panama Geisha & Ethiopia espresso, apple, and passion fruit, served over an ice ball.

Lex Wenneker, Espresso Service West, The Netherlands

Lex Wenneker - Espresso Service West - The Netherlands 01

“Why don’t we order coffee based on variety? I think variety is just as important as origin”

Feel like ‘s use of “All My Friends” is *the* iconic soundtrack moment of World Barista Championship this year

Lex Wenneker - Espresso Service West - The Netherlands 04

Filter coffee from a lovely wine bottle, poured in formal wine glasses — you’re after my heart

Lex Wenneker - Espresso Service West - The Netherlands 02

Sudan Rume, Geisha, and Pacamara are the three varieties will serve in this routine

“a silky mouthfeel and a hazelnut finish” in ‘s espressos

Lex Wenneker - Espresso Service West - The Netherlands 03

Sig drink takes pear, elderflower, and Muscat grape juice, pomegranate, and Pacamara espresso blended together

LEM BUTLER, COUNTER CULTURE COFFEE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Lem Butler - Counter Culture - USA 04

Notice how Lem methodically gives tasting notes for each course up front — he’ll repeat those notes throughout routine

Finca Nuguo Geisha espresso yields “bright lime acidity, touch of grapefruit, stone fruit, lingering coffee bitterness”

Lem Butler - Counter Culture - USA 01

“I’m using an EK43 for its consistant grind size, ensuring all that deliciousness gets into the cup”
Lem Butler - Counter Culture - USA 02
this sig drink is called the Cafe Gallardo, in honor of producer Jose Gallardo
chilled espresso, magnolia flower syrup, hibiscus, infused quick w/ nitrous for “milkshake mouthfeel”
Lem rims the glass with lemongrass to accentuate flavors — “it’s like adding acidity without adding acidity”

Ben Put, Monogram Coffee, Canada

Ben Put - Monogram Coffee - Canada 03

“Sometimes an entirely new coffee experience is created” by taking risks sayeth

Semeon Abay, the producer of ‘s Ethiopia coffee, stacks his cherries, creating various levels of fermentation.

Ben Put - Monogram Coffee - Canada 01

. taking risks too, putting his spro in a vac sealer to reduce bitterness, acidity, and cool it a bit.

Ben Put - Monogram Coffee - Canada 04

“passion fruit, strawberry, cherry, and canteloupe” in ‘s vac sealed Semeon Abay espressos from

Another risk for : a new way to spro for his sig bev. Pressurized full immersion brew pushed through an aeropress.

Ben Put - Monogram Coffee - Canada 02

Granadilla juice, apricot compote, and malic acid round out ‘s sig bev, w/ notes of passion fruit, strawberry, and melon.

Berg Wu, Simple Kaffa, Taiwan

Berg Wu - Simple Kaffa - Taiwan 03

Wu competes with a Geisha grown at 1950MASL at Finca in Panama.

Berg Wu - Simple Kaffa - Taiwan 04

White flowers – like jasmine – and orange in the espresso course for Berg Wu.

0.3cm microfoam in the milk course to not overpower Wu’s delicate spro. Notes of mandarin orange w/ an Early Grey tea finish

Berg Wu - Simple Kaffa - Taiwan 02

explosive aroma” in the sig bev for Berg Wu.

Berg Wu - Simple Kaffa - Taiwan 01

orange juice and honey reduction, Earl Grey tea, mandarin essential oil and nitrogen completes Wu’s sig bev.

 

We’ll have the Championship announcements momentarily…