2016 WBC Finalist #5: Ben Put, Canada

Ben Put of Canada has taken the international coffee competition circuit by storm since he appeared on the scene a few years ago. Interestingly, his business partner, Jeremy Ho, with whom he owns Monogram Coffee in Calgary, was the Barista Champion of Canada in 2013. And Ben himself is virtually addicted to competition: When I judged him in Toronto and Vancouver the last two years, he competed in Latte Art as well as Barista, and did quite well, taking 2nd place in the Canadian Latte Art Championship this past year.

Ben Put, Barista Champion of Canada, beloved by his peers.
Ben Put, Barista Champion of Canada, beloved by his peers.

Which brings me to a quintessential Ben-ism that took place today during his performance in the final round: Having served three of the judges their cappuccinos, Ben poured a smiley face on the last drink before he passed it over.

As he did when he appeared in the final round of the 2015 WBC ”where he won a fantastic 3rd place ”Ben vacuumed his espresso. As he explains it: you know that taste of sparkling water that’s gone flat? That distinctive kind of chemical taste goes away. So Ben figured by taking the crema away, i.e. vacuuming, removes the carbonic acid, which is responsible for that slightly chemical taste in many espressos.

You can always count on Ben to bring the science. Here he is vacuuming the crema from his espressos.
You can always count on Ben to bring the science. Here he is vacuuming the crema from his espressos.

But that’s not the weirdest thing Ben did on stage today, actually. For his signature drink, he wanted to create a full immersion espresso. You read that right. So here’s how that goes:

  1. He created a custom water to go with his coffee (Nekisse from Ethiopia, via Ninety Plus)
  2. He put that water and his espresso into a charger, charged it
  3. Then he pushed it through an AeroPress
Ben brings attention to detail together with the most imaginative creativity.
Ben brings attention to detail together with the most imaginative creativity.

This was full immersion espresso. To build his signature drink on top of that, he added apricot as well as a magic acid solution in order to coax out the melon flavor he loved in the coffee. Other tasting notes: strawberry, cherry, passionfruit, and cantaloupe. He told the judges it would smell like a tropical flower garden. I also liked that he said the viscosity of the drink would be as that of melted butter.

Ben, fantastic job, as always. You are simply among the best of the best.

 

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