Cups were slurped down to the grounds here at the 2017 SCA World of Coffee Budapest World Cup Tasters Championship, but in the end there was but one who slurped the best. That one is Lok Chan of Craft Coffee Roaster in Hong Kong.
Cup Tasters in unlike any other coffee championship. There are no routines, no judges, nothing prepared. The tasters come equipped simply with their spoons and their palates. Throughout the course of the four elimination rounds, cup tasters are presented with eight sets of three cups of coffee and must decipher which of the three is unlike the others. The differences from cup to cup are minute, indistinguishable to even the most refined palates in the coffee world. But not to Lok Chan.
His first appearance at the World Cup Tasters Championship, Chan was nearly perfect throughout the entirety of the event, going a perfect eight for eight in three of the four rounds; he went a paltry (by his standards) seven for eight in the Quarterfinal round. But it was enough to get him to the Semis, and then again to the Finals.
In the last round, Chan was the second fastest in recognizing odd cup out, only slower than the United Kingdom’s Freda Yun, who correctly distinguished seven of eight. This allowed Chan to eke by Satsuki Amano of Japan, the only other competitor to go a perfect eight for eight in the Final round, but doing so just a hair behind Chan.
And Chan knew it. When the eighth cups for himself and Amano were raised at the same time, the underside of both cups shined with the metallic stars symbolizing the correct pick, and Chan immediately raised his fists skyward in victory. All that was left was the official announcement, and it confirmed what we all knew: Lok Chan of Hong Kong is the 2017 World Cup Tasters Champion.
Sprudge Media Network’s coverage of the 2017 World Coffee Championships at World of Coffee Budapest is made possible by support from Acaia, Aerobie, Baratza, Cafe Imports, Pacific Foods, and Swiss Water Decaf. All of our 2017 competition coverage worldwide is underwritten with support from Urnex Brands and Nuova Simonelli.