From an initial field of 50 baristas across the country, some 20 of the very best competed against each other at the Mexico Barista Championship in Mexico City. It was a weekend of outstanding routines, but in the end only one can win, and Luis Feria was crowned the 15th Mexican Barista Champion.

Although Feria comes from a Mexican family he has a close relationship with Colombia. His wife not only comes from Colombia, but she’s the daughter of Blanca Bernal (former Colombian Barista Champion). Bernal has been Luis Feria’s coach since he first competed in 2011; he placed 5th nationally that year, and would go on to take 3rd place in both 2013 and 2015 before finally winning this year’s event.

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Though a great fan of Mexican coffees, Feria’s nearness to Colombian culture compelled him to choose a Colombian coffee for his presentation. He used a washed Castillo harvested in Finca Tierra Labrantia by Danilo Gómez; this farm is located in the department of Quindio at 1700 meters over the sea level.

The coffee was roasted by Azahar Coffee and had 22 days of rest off-roast, highlighting specific notes in his espresso. This included a spicy aroma, intense cacao flavor, the acidity reminding us of strawberries and a fresh mint-like aftertaste. In milk drinks (he served cortados), this coffee offered notes of cacao and strawberry.

For his signature drink, Luis Feria wanted to keep the espresso flavor dominant while highlighting certain key characteristics. To do this he used the following recipe:

  • 4 espressos
  • 10 grams of pure roasted cacao
  • 10 grams of dehydrated cascara
  • 15 ml of natural brown syrup sugar
  • 50 ml of water
  • Ice

The cascara, cacao and brown sugar syrup were infused with the hot water, and the espresso and then quickly passed through ice. He then used a manual foam maker to incorporate all the flavors in order to serve it to the judges.

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After years of competing, training and learning Luis Feria is at last the Barista Champion of Mexico. He’ll move on next to represent his country at the 2017 World Barista Championship in Seoul.

Photos by Juan Pablo Garcia for Sprudge.

Ximena Rubio is a Sprudge contributor based in Mexico City.