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 DENMARK
SÃ¸ren Stiller Markussen
Coach: Nicclai Lind
About you: Two and a half years ago, I opened my own coffee shop, mcroroastery, and academy in Aarhus, Denmark. Every year I travel to the coffee farms from where I source my coffee, establishing a long term relationship and building new relationships, so I understans how to prepare the perfect cup. I have been competing since 2006, and every year I consequently try to improve myself and my skills, adapting this into my coffee shop and academy. I have to be honest and admit, I love to compete, because it improves my understanding for craftmanship.
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?
6 years as HR consultant working with internal employee development and interpersonal skills. Organizational development and structures as quality management. Business executive economic management.
How did you get started in coffee?
I had a year on leave starting to study business executive economic management, and I took a job in a cafe and participated in my first barista championship. I didn’t know anything about coffee and neither did our coffee supplier. I was so amazed by all the angles and techniques working togehter with communication skills, and they fascinated me so much I got stuck to coffee and wanted to know more.
What was your first amazing experience with coffee?
Roasting my own coffee and competing with it. In 2008, I started to work very closely with a farm in Honduras improving processing methods and in 2010, when I was in the finals, it was the best experience to present their coffee.
Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?
James Hoffmann ”he is a person to admire. I always looked up to his work and his approach with coffee and coffee research. He communicates coffee on a public level everyone can understand.
What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?
I like to see that coffee skills go hand in hand with the wine sommelier approach. And a formal education is established at a governmental level in cooperation with the technical schools. As the industry is getting bigger and more quality aware, a formal education would help push coffee further.
Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:
Cannot think of any…I meet so many great coffee people.
Name a barista you admire, and why:
Colin Harmon. He is an admirable person.
Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.
Not really. I enjoy most of my customers.
Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?
Monmouth Coffee in London. I love to go there, it has such a good atmosphere.
Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?
I have been visiting so many coffee countries. And next year I will go and visit Panama and Rwanda; they have really nice coffees.
What are your interests outside of coffee?
I have done ju-jitsu for 25 years and like to do a lot of sport.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would like to have 2 more coffee shops.
Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?
I would like to thank my family and my staff, the coffee bars in Aarhus working together establishing the Danish Championship. Federico Bolanos and Lily Pacas and Federico Pacas for helping me developing my coffee for WBC.