It’s hard to believe we’re almost at the end of our lovely sojourn in the South of France, where thousands of coffee professionals from around the world are gathered for the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe’s (SCAE) annual World of Coffee event, held this year in Nice, France, on the shores of La CÃ´te d’Azur.
Loads of activities have been occupying my time, from scrumptious cuppings to exciting coffee competitions.
It is Friday morning as I write this, and we are scurrying to the show to watch the final rounds of both the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship (WCIGS) and the World Latte Art Championship (WLAC).
From 31 nations represented in total this year at the WLAC, we are down to a final six extraordinary baristas. They are:
Esther Maasdam, The Netherlands
Kyeong Woo Jung, Republic of Korea
Sam Low, New Zealand
Leszek Jedrasik, Poland
Miguel Lamora, Spain
Hisako Yoshikawa, Japan
In the WCIGS Championship, the field of 21 barista bartenders was narrowed to six spectacular finalists. They are:
Martin HudÃ¡k, Slovakia
Gordon Howell, United Kingdom
Marcin WÃ³jciak, Poland
Dimitrios Konstantopoulos, Greece
Victor Delpierre, France
The World Cup Tasters Championship has been thrilling to watch, as well. Yesterday (Thursday), was the semifinal round, and the following four extraordinary cuppers will continue on to today’s final round:
Jan Komarek, Czech Republic
Risa Sasaki, Japan
Lajos HorvÃ¡th, Hungary
Another enormous highlight of yesterday was Café Imports’ special cupping event with Aida Batlle of El Salvador, who was here in person to answer questions about the coffees on the table from her Aida Batlle Selection program and the J. Hill y Cia mill in Santa Ana, El Salvador.
About 25 people attended the cupping, and represented specialty roasters from around the world. Café Imports’ Noah Namowicz and Gabe Dunn led them through the two tables of coffees, which also included some spot coffees from Ethiopia, Colombia, and elsewhere.
The show floor was buzzing throughout the day, and as we do at these European trade shows (and which we do not do at American shows), the champagne was flowing by 4:30 p.m. ”the show closed at 5 p.m.
After the show, it was time to head to THE party of the week: Unic! The Nice-based company offered the warmest of welcomes with this party ”hands down the fanciest and most delicious coffee party I’ve ever been to.
Held at an eighteenth century palace on the water’s edge, well-dressed guests mingled in the gardens, checked out the exquisitely preserved palace, ate amazing food including the traditional NiÃ§ois chickpea crepe, mountains of prosciutto, and countless other delicacies. Perfectly selected wines and champagnes were served throughout the evening. Also on offer were coffee cocktails concocted by the amazing Sauro Dall Aglio, a consultant and trainer for Unic.
When dusk was upon us, and the band was playing, guests filteres inside the palace to take advantage of the super fun photo set where they could play sea captain on the French Riviera in a delightfully adorable photograph. Each guest in the photo received a print for a souvenir of this magical evening.
And now it’s time to go watch the exciting final round of the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, the World Cup Tasters Championship, and the World Latte Art Championship! By the end of today, we will have new world champions!