Editor’s note: As we approach the beginning of the 2014 World Barista Championship, which takes place in Rimini, Italy, June 9 “12, at the SCAE’s World of Coffee event, we would like to introduce you to the National Barista Champions who all worked incredibly hard to earn a position in this preeminent coffee contest. Profiles of all 54 competitors will appear on Barista Magazine’s blog between Monday, June 2, and Monday, June 9, and can all be accessed under the category header “WBC 2014 Rimini.”
BARISTA CHAMPION OF CHINA
Chu Family Cafe
Coach: Lida Xie
About you: My name is Wu Yalian. I come from China. This is my 7th year as a barista. Very glad to be here today.
How many years have you worked with coffee or in the coffee industry?
Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?
No. It is my first job.
How did you get started in coffee?
I just fell in love in this job when I met with amazing coffees as a barista. It is a wonderful job what I wanna do it my whole life.
What was your first amazing experience with coffee?
My first amazing experience with coffee was from a full washed Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia,2009. I was fully impressed by its beautiful jasmine flower aroma, and citric notes.
Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?
My boss and also my best friend. He not only creates a great place to experience with specialty coffee, but also shares with me his insights about specialty coffee industry.
What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?
I would like to invite more and more people to enjoy a cup of specialty coffee. I would like to see more and more young people join with me as a barista, to promote specialty coffee. One day, more and more people will get to know that coffee is not just about bitterness, it is a pretty drink with complex flavors.
Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.
Yes, of course. I call him Brother Kun. When I met with him at the first time, he was a teacher of Art. Now, after his retirement, he begin to study coffee roasting. He always try the roasting profile with specialty green beans. He is both like an elder and child with full of curiosity. We talk a lot about coffee and beyond coffee. Most of the time,he is living in Taiwan, I miss him very much.
Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?
Kenya. I just love it.
What are your interests outside of coffee?
Maybe…. hanging out with friends in some coffee bars.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I love my current job very much, I enjoy every moment when I am serving coffees for my customers. No matter 5 years or 50 years, I wish I can do this job as today. There would be more and more great baristas, more and more great coffee bars in China if the barista’s income level will be improved.
Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?
I would like to express my special thanks to my boss, colleagues, friends. And, the great coffee people in China which support me as always.