Introducing the 2023 World Barista Championship Competitors: Part 5

In advance of the WBC event on June 21–24, we introduce the champions from Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.

FROM STAFF REPORTS
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF WORLD COFFEE EVENTS

The ancient city of Athens, Greece, will be the backdrop for the 2023 World Barista Championship on June 21–24, at the World of Coffee event. Forty-eight national champions from around the world will take the stage to compete for the ultimate coffee championship title.

In the run up to the World Barista Championship, we will showcase these champions here at Barista Magazine Online in the alphabetical order of their countries. (Here are parts onetwo, three, and four of this series.) Today, we meet the champions of Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.

NORWAY

ALEXANDER MONSEN
NORD KAFFE AS

Alexander Monsen prepares a coffee during a competition to earn a place at the World Barista Championship while an emcee speaks behind him.
Alexander Monsen looks forward to competing at the WBC to support the coffee community in Norway.

“Working as the head roaster, quality, and training at Nord Kaffe in Oslo, Norway. While locked in the roastery four days a week, tinkering, making, and working with recipes and production, there is this one where everything coffee is on show. All my efforts go to lift the coffee community in Norway, as this community is my life.“

PANAMA

BENJAMIN ROQUE
BÚHO CAFE

Benjamin Roque works on creating a signature drink as the judges watch at a barista competition.
Benjamin Roque will compete in the WBC for the third time in Athens.

“I work in my own coffee shop called Búho Café in Chiriquí, Panama. I have been competing for seven years. This time it is the third time that I represent Panama in the barista championship. And what motivates me to compete is to be able to excel as a barista professional and leave Panama in a good position in these competitions.“

PERU

JHOSSELINE BENITES
ORIGEN TOSTADORES DE CAFE

Jhosseline Benites holds her first place trophy and smiles at the camera.
Jhosseline Benites found a job as a barista by chance but ended up falling in love with specialty coffee.

“I have been working for six years in Origen Coffee Roasters as a barista and a shop manager.
The year 2022 was the first time I competed in a barista national championship, and I felt happy to be the champion. With many years of experience as a barista, I felt it was the right time to compete to test myself and show myself what I could do. I am a pastry maker, and I entered the coffee world by coincidence looking for a job, without thinking I would end up loving coffee.“

POLAND

DOMINIKA KOWALSKA
MAME

Dominika Kowalska tamps coffee in a portafilter on stage while competing in a barista competition to qualify for the World Barista Championship.
Dominika Kowalska trains in underwater hockey when not working as a barista.

“I’m working in Switzerland in MAME. I’m working with coffee for four years, and this is my first time competing in the national championship. And I’m training (in) underwater hockey for nine years. :)“

ROMANIA

ECATERINA SZASZ
INDEPENDENT

Ecaterina Szasz smiles at the camera in a straight on portrait.
Ecaterina Szasz is making her WBC debut in Athens after competing in the ibrik competition previously.

“I have been competing for some years in ibrik coffee, but I always dreamed to be on the stage for the World Barista Championship. I got into the coffee industry because I made a very bad cappuccino for my sister 🙂 and so I went to the barista school.“

SAUDI ARABIA

AHMED ABDELAZIZ
CROPS COFFEE ROASTERS

Ahmed Abdelaziz holds his first place trophy and smiles for the camera as he advances to the World Barista Championship.
Ahmed Abdelaziz has spent nearly two decades working in coffee.

“I’m Ahmed, working in the coffee industry for close to 20 years. I’ve been competing since 2017 in Saudi Arabia. My motivation is to use the coffee competitions as a medium to gain much more of coffee arts and techniques, communicate ideas and messages, as well as develop my presence in the industry.“

SOUTH AFRICA

STEVO KUHN
URBAN BREW BARISTA ACADEMY

Stevo Kühn sits at a white table with a red Comandate hand grinder in front of him.
Stevo Kühn competed in the 2021 World Barista Championship in Milan, Italy.

“I am an AST for the Specialty Coffee Association and founder of Urban Brew Barista Academy. My first national competition was in 2019, and in 2021, I competed in the World Barista Championship Milan. I am naturally competitive, and coffee competitions are the perfect place for me to grow professionally and share with others. With the success in competition thus far, I have enjoyed being able to connect with a variety of people across continents to learn and share coffee knowledge. As a trainer and consultant, it is such a joy for me to help grow specialty coffee in Southern Africa and beyond. Like most people, I got into coffee by ‘chance.’ Quit my job as a teacher thinking that I’d become a musician and here I am—a scholar of coffee and loving it.“

Stay tuned to Barista Magazine Online as we introduce all 48 National Barista Champions set to take the stage at the 2023 World Barista Championship in Athens, Greece, June 21–24!

The cover of the June + July 2023 issue of Barista Magazine featuring Martin Shabaya of Kenya.

READ THE LATEST BARISTA MAGAZINE

Out now: It’s the June + July 2023 issue of Barista Magazine featuring Martin Shabaya of Kenya on the cover. Read it for free with our digital edition. Get your Barista Magazine delivered; start a subscription today! Visit our online store to renew your subscription or order back issues.

About baristamagazine 2063 Articles
Barista Magazine is the leading trade magazine in the world for the professional coffee community.