Semi-Finals At The 2016 World Barista Championship

The dust has settled and Round One of the World Barista Championship in Dublin has come to a close. The rather hefty 62-person field took damn near 24 hours over the course of two days to complete before we could learn the 12 baristas making it to the Semi-Finals, happening today.

Those 12 are now hoping to earn one of the coveted six Finals spots and a chance to perform one last time for the title of 2016 World Barista Champion. We saw two competitors break the 500 point mark in Round One, but expect to see even more people to go 500+, because this is where competitors really step up their games. Everyone will be cleaning up those little half point hiccups, so the scores will be even tighter this go round. It’s really anyone’s game at this point.’s coverage of the 2016 World Barista Championship is made possible by Urnex BrandsNuova Simonelli, and KitchenAid.

Livestream info is here. 

We’re here all day, photographing, live-tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming it all, doing whatever it takes to bring you closer to the action. If the WBC is Passover, then you must be Elijah, because we saved you a seat…

Berg Wu, Simple Kaffa, Taiwan

Berg Wu - SimpleKaffa - Taiwan 04

Our first competitor on the day here at is Berg Wu, Simple Kaffa, Taiwan

Berg Wu’s competing here at with a washed Geisha coffee from Panama – one of several Geisha-repping competitors here today

Berg Wu - SimpleKaffa - Taiwan 01

Big citrus notes in Berg Wu’s Geisha espressos

Berg Wu - SimpleKaffa - Taiwan 02

150 ml of organic milk in Berg Wu’s milk drink here at — “i grind finer, and extract my espresso stronger for more citrus”

Torrential rain pouring down on the roof of this Barista Battle Dome, paired with Berg Wu’s downtempo chill sndtrack

Berg Wu - SimpleKaffa - Taiwan 03

range juice & honey reduction, early grey tea, mandarin essential oil through an aromatizer — that’s Berg Wu

Ying Hu, Outman Coffee, China
Ying Hu - Outman Coffee - China 02

“As a coffee shop owner, I have to balance what a customer wants with what a barista can provide.” – Ying Hu

Ying Hu - Outman Coffee - China 04

Ms. Hu lets a judge decide which version of the sig bev will be served today: hot or cold. He chose cold.

The coffee today for Hu is a honey processed Geisha from Finca Deborah in Panama.

Ying Hu - Outman Coffee - China 03

Cascara syrup, orange juice, and sparking water comprise part of Ms. Hu’s sig bev, and she serves them that part in glen cairns.

Ying Hu - Outman Coffee - China 01

As an espresso, Ms. Hu’s Panama Finca Deborah is presenting lots of stone fruit flavors. Think apricot. I know I am.

Yoshikazu Iwase, Rec Collective Co., Japan

Yoshikazu Iwase - Rec Coffee - Japan 04

“Interweaving coffees” today from . 2 coffees, a Panama and an Ethiopia.

Yoshikazu Iwase - Rec Coffee - Japan 01

12g Ethiopia and 8g Panama make up the blend for ‘s espressos, giving notes of mango, raspberry jam, and passion fruit.

Yoshikazu Iwase - Rec Coffee - Japan 02

When visited the farms from which his coffee comes, he got to work with the pickers to select the ripest cherries.

Notes of vanilla and banana in ‘s milk drinks here at .

Yoshikazu Iwase - Rec Coffee - Japan 03

Sig bev for includes espresso, apple, and passion fruit, served over an ice ball.

Hugh Kelly, ONA Coffee, Australia

Hugh Kelly - ONA - Australia 04

This routine is themed around the idea of serving a coffee that isn’t special because it’s rare—it’s intentional

Hugh Kelly - ONA - Australia 02

Ona Coffee, home to is also home to last year’s world champion — can they repeat?

Hugh Kelly’s serving a Castillo variety processed two ways, from producer Elkin Guzman at El Mirador in Colombia

Hugh Kelly - ONA - Australia 01

“sparkling espresso, medium weight, silky mouthfeel, bright red currant” — Castillo espresso from

his milk drinks get a coffee that’s been “natural processed on the tree” — “a new kind of processing” v interesting

Hugh Kelly - ONA - Australia 03

sig drink for takes freeze-concentrated fresh blackcurrants from Tasmania, freeze-dried fruits, and coconut sugar

Dawn Chan, The Cupping Room, Hong Kong


When cafes keep sending champions you know there’s something special there. excels on these big stages.

It’s a Gesha from Café Granja la Esperanza Cerro Azul of Colombia, roasted by in Colorado


“fresh white peach, peach gummy” notes in milk drinks here at


“This is some of the best coffee in the world—my job is to create a new experience for coffee drinkers”

“lemongrass tea” acidity in these natural processed gesha espressos — dang that sounds good Dawn Chan


Dawn Chan’s sig drink: fermented cold pressed grape juice, hibiscus black tea, gesha, carb’d & chilled

Charlotte Malaval, Ditta Artigianale, France

Charlotte Malaval - Ditta Artigianale - France 04

“Excellence is not always what is seems” – here at

Charlotte Malaval - Ditta Artigianale - France 01

It’s a fully washed red bourbon from Finca San Roberto in El Salvador for , with big red plum, orange, and floral notes.

The cheering section for is rather large and boisterous, clapping along to her soundtrack. Not sure about those sequined hats, tho

Charlotte Malaval - Ditta Artigianale - France 03

chocolate and almonds with a creamy texture in ‘s milk course.

To bring out the cherry flavor in her San Fernando coffee, ‘s sig bev uses strawberry, basil, and cinnamon. Perception, y’all

Charlotte Malaval - Ditta Artigianale - France 02

“Quality can happen anywhere”

Erna Tosberg, Roestbar Joka e. K., Germany

Erna Tosberg - Roestbar Joka - Germany 04

Caturra and Catuai varieties in ‘s Black Unicorn espresso from Cumbres del Poas in Costa Rica.

Gotta pamper your coffee. ‘s Black Unicorn gets a “sauna treatment” drying process to break down cell structure.

Erna Tosberg - Roestbar Joka - Germany 02

Taste notes in ‘s natural processed Black Unicorn – blueberry, raisin, brazil nut, and cacao.

Erna Tosberg - Roestbar Joka - Germany 01

Rum raisin, hazelnut and cacao in ‘s black-cupped Black Unicorn milk course. Black Unicorn-tados, if you will.

Erna Tosberg - Roestbar Joka - Germany 03

Fermented milk, sugar, salt, and blueberries make up the sig bev for .

Natalia Piotrowska, Independent, Ireland

Natalia Piotrowska - Independent - Ireland 04

“To me this coffee completely represents what specialty coffee is” – discussing her coffee, the Sudan Rume.

.‘s progressive tasting notes in her 1st Sudan Rume: lime acidity to raisin, plum, grapefruit to milk chocolate coated raisin

Natalia Piotrowska - Independent - Ireland 01

. moves from a washed Sudan Rume to a natural processed one, produced by Camilo Merizalde in Colombia.

Natalia Piotrowska - Independent - Ireland 02

. is smokin’ plums on stage. The sig bev is underway…

Natalia Piotrowska - Independent - Ireland 03

Apple infusion, smoked plum reduction and panela sugar in ‘s sig bev w/ a nice lime acidity.

Lem Butler, Counter Culture Coffee, United States of America

Lem Butler - Counter Culture - USA 04

And now it is time for Lem.

Lem Butler - Counter Culture - USA 01

Lem Butler competes here with a green tip gesha from producer Jose Gallardo of Finca Nuguo in Panama

For his espresso slings “bright lime acidity, touch of grapefruit, stone fruit sweetness, lingering coffee bitterness”

Lem Butler - Counter Culture - USA 02

For capps you’ll get serving a 4oz classic with “creamy mouthfeel, butter almond, toffee, and a touch of lime acidity”

Lem Butler - Counter Culture - USA 03

you know there is an enormous amount of work that goes into a set but he’s just so chill up there. totally in command

Dan Fellows, Origin Coffee, United Kingdom

Dan Fellows - Origin - UK 01

Kinda feels like the UK needs something to cheer for today…

Dan Fellows competes here at with Ethiopia Nekisse Limited Batch E17

Dan Fellows - Origin - UK 03

21 grams in, 42 grams out for espresso course — “this will deliver the most amazing tactile…like pineapple juice”

“passionfruit…red plum, black cherry, and a light note of 60% dark chocolate” — spro notes

Dan Fellows - Origin - UK 02

dunno if you would call it “swag’ per se but up there dealing — cool collected in control

Dan Fellows - Origin - UK 04

Chilled Nekisse, freeze-dried strawberries, fresh passionfruit, Peruvian cacao nibs, pineapple juice, , AND…

salted molasses syrup Matcha coconut cream, & an infusion of dried pineapple, dried coconut and passion fruit tea

Ben Put, Monogram Coffee, Canada

Ben Put - Monogram - Canada 01

The theme of ‘s is about risk. That risk has paid off thus far, giving him the highest score in the 1st round at the .

he 1st risk for vacuum pressurizing his espresso to remove the carbonic acid

Ben Put - Monogram - Canada 04

Notes of passion fruit, strawberry, and pineapple from the Semeon Abay espresso for

45 deg C milk for ‘s capps bringing out flavors of banana pudding, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream, which sounds yummy.

Ben Put - Monogram - Canada 02

Pressurized full immersion brew made with custom h2o then run through an aeropress is ‘s new spro method.

Ben Put - Monogram - Canada 03

To his special spro, adds granadilla juice, apricot compote, and malic acid for his sig bev

Lex Wenneker, Espresso Service West, The Netherlands

Lex Wennker - Espresso Service West - The Netherlands 04

The farm in Colombia where got his coffee grows multiple varieties, and he’s gonna use his routine to highlight the differences

Not part of his judged 3 drinks, is serving the judges all 3 varieties as filter coffees to taste in the same brew method

Lex Wennker - Espresso Service West - The Netherlands 02

Thus far, has served the judges a Sudan Rume and a natural gesha as part of his tasting menu, both from the same farm.

Lex Wennker - Espresso Service West - The Netherlands 01

Coconut with a hint of caramel in the @lexwennker macchiatos using milk brought from a 60 cow farm in The Netherlands

3rd coffee in ‘s tasting menu is a natural Pacamara. All from Las Margaritas BTW. same process method, same harvest season

Lex Wennker - Espresso Service West - The Netherlands 03

Pear, elder flower, and Muscat grape juice, pomegranate, and Pacamara espresso blended together for ‘s sig bev.