Meet the 2017 World Barista Championship Competitors, Part One (Australia–Hong Kong)

Photos, profiles, Instagram handles, and more for every National Barista Champion competing in the World Barista Championship this week in Seoul.

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Every year, we at Barista Magazine are lucky enough to have an exclusive sneak peek at photos and information about all the competitors headed to the World Barista Championship. Why? Because Barista Magazine has produced the Official World Barista Championship Event Program for World Coffee Events for the past 10 years. We’ll give away thousands of copies of the event program in Seoul, South Korea, this week at the 2017 World Barista Championship. But for those of you who want an early look at who will be competing, we’re publishing profiles and photos today through Wednesday of all 58 National Barista Champions.

TODAY, November 6: Champions from Australia, Austria, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, and Hong Kong

Tuesday, November 7: Champions from Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Philippines, and Poland

Wednesday, November 8: Champions from Portugal, Puerto Rico, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Vietnam

Stay tuned right here to Barista Magazine Online all this week for the complete WBC schedule, breaking news, semifinalist and finalist announcements, and additional information every single day of the competition!

AUSTRALIA—Hugh Kelly
Representing ONA Coffee
Instagram: @hugh_t_kelly
About you: I run training and work in quality control at ONA Coffee in Australia, and I’ve been involved in the coffee industry for eight or nine years. I am also involved in the San Remo World Academy.
Anyone you’d like to thank? Sasa Sestic for being an amazing mentor and giving me the opportunity to prepare with no restrictions. Sam Corra for roasting amazing coffee. Hidenori Izaki for also being an amazing mentor and helping me step up my preparation. The whole ONA Coffee team that supported me in my preparations. My partner Kestin for helping me fine-tune details of my presentation and also being a support at home.

 

AUSTRIA—Michael Prem
Representing Prem Frischkaffee
About you: Last year, I founded the roastery Prem Frischkaffee. My aim as a roaster is to source mostly organic coffees from cooperatives and small producers in a transparent way, and to roast them to perfection. As a barista, my job is building a bridge between the specialty-coffee industry and the consumer. Each day I am serving an eye-opening coffee to a new client is a good day for me!
Anyone you’d like to thank? There are so many great people involved in this project. I am extremely grateful to all the friends and colleagues that supported me, shared their thoughts, and helped me to prepare for this challenge!

 

BELARUS—Evgeni Pinchukov
Representing Kitchen Coffee Roasters
About you: I’m roaster and head barista in Kitchen Coffee Roasters (Belarus, Minsk). This is my second victory, and this time it is even more interesting for me to participate and be better.
Anyone you’d like to thank? A lot of thanks to my team and friends!

 

 

BRAZILLeo Moço
Representing Barista Coffee Bar
Instagram: @barista.leomoco
About you: I’m a nutritionist and IT analyst, but I quit everything to work with specialty coffee in 2005. I started by living on a coffee farm for three months, and since that time I’ve never stopped studying coffee. In 2009, I launched my coffee roastery, Café do Moço. In 2014, my wife and I opened our first coffee shop, the Barista Coffee Bar. Today I’m focused on working with small farmers to improve their coffees, always trying to increase the specialty-coffee market in Brazil.
Anyone you’d like to thank? I need to thank the BSCA (Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association) for all their support; to Sakamoto for being my coach; and also to my friend Marcia Yoko, and my wife, Estela Cotes.

 

CANADA—Ben Put
Representing Monogram Coffee
Instagram:
@benjaminput
About you: I am a co-owner of Monogram Coffee, located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Monogram consists of two cafés and a roaster. This has been an exciting year for me as my wife, Tara, and I had a baby in December 2016.
Anyone you’d like to thank? My wife for not only letting me compete, but attending almost every competition I have ever been in (only missed one!). My business partners, Justin and Jeremy. Ninety Plus and the entire Makers team have supported me all year long with coffee and with friendship. The entire team at Monogram Coffee. The whole crew at Urnex for supporting me the past three years. Josh Hockin and Mike Strumpf!

 

CHINA—Jeremy Zhang
Representing M2M Coffee
Instagram: @jeremyzhang4180
About you: I have worked in the coffee industry for about six years. The most exciting thing for me is to share some unique coffee with others. This excitement drives me to visit coffee farms and find the best way to extract coffee.
Anyone you’d like to thank? I believe in this industry—people are bound together. I don’t think I can cover everyone; however, I particularly thank Holly and Jake for coaching me, and also Ninety Plus as a big family for me. They have given me immeasurable help and support beyond coffee itself.

 


COLOMBIA—
Diego Campos
Representing Amor Perfecto
About you: I’ve been working in the coffee industry since 2008, and I think coffee is the best thing that has ever happened to me, because I found a career, and I can do what I really love to do .
Anyone you’d like to thank? First of all, I would like to thank all the people at Finca Tamana—the farmer, the pickers, and also everyone who has supported me since I started as a barista .

 

COSTA RICA—Ariel Bravo
Representing Catering & La Máquina de Café
Instagram: @arielbrvo
About you: My mother registered me for a barista course six years ago, and my life changed completely—a spark in me lit up and my desire to be a barista and a champion started. I found in competitions a way to teach to people about coffee and learn from them, as well, about their perspectives about the coffee industry and how this is involved with their lifestyles.
Anyone you’d like to thank? Thanks to my family, friends, the coffee producers: Café de Altura de San Ramón, Hacienda Tobosi and Aquiares State, SCACR (Asociación de Cafés Finos de Costa Rica), ICAFE, and all the companies that sponsored us and trust in our teamwork and vision.

 

CZECH REPUBLIC—Jan Skerik
Representing Double B Coffee & Tea
About you: I work as a head barista in Double B Coffee & Tea in Prague. Actually, as a professional, I am quite young in coffee. Many years ago I started at Costa Coffee for one year. Then I started my career in transports and logistics, and finally realized that I love to work with people and I love coffee, and I came back. And thanks to the great people around me, I quickly started to learn everything about coffee. I know that coffee is my destiny.
Anyone you’d like to thanks? My coach, Dmitry Boroday; my girlfriend, Miri; and my sister, Lena.

 

DENMARK—Sonja Zweidick
Representing Barista Connect
Instagram: @zweidick
About you: I am from Austria, but 17 years ago, I moved to Denmark for love. In 2012, I entered the coffee world, and ever since, specialty coffee has continued to widen my perspective and intrigued me to explore. My attendance at previous barista championships, nationals, as well as WBCs has pushed my limits and accelerated my learning curve. Additionally, I founded Barista Connect in 2015, an international network with annual events for female coffee professionals, to strengthen connections and share knowledge with women in our industry.
Anyone you’d like to thank? As my female coffee network and Barista Connect events get more established, I really look forward to having more time on my hands to invest in it.


ECUADOR—
Mario Idrovo
Representing Sweet & Coffee/Café del Ecuador
Instagram: @baristamarioec
About you: I’m a coffee professional that loves to interact with everyone from seed to the final cup. I love spreading coffee culture and knowledge anywhere I go. My goal is to be a world-renowned coffee professional and to give my life for a better world through coffee.
Anyone you’d like to thank? My family, Jaco, and coffee friends for their support throughout the years. And my sponsors, which have helped me along my coffee journey.


EL SALVADOR—
Víctor Flores Menéndez
Representing Biscuit Factory
Instagram: @chefmaney
About you: I’m a food and drinks enthusiast working in my family business, which started as a bakery and now is one of the most popular coffee shops in San Salvador. As a chef, culinary arts was my first love. Then I met the coffee industry and it was love at first sight. Brewing coffee for my friends and customers is one of the greatest things that life let me do. To be the last part of a big coffee chain and represent the producer in every cup that I serve is a huge responsibility, and also a great honor.
Anyone you’d like to thank? My coaches from Academia Barista Pro, Jonathan and Johanna; the Salvadoran Coffee Council (Consejo Salvadoreño del Café); my parents, sister, wife, and my newborn baby. Thanks to all of them for their support and patience.


FINLAND—
Jarno Peräkylä
Representing Bean & Burner
Instagram: @jarnoperae
About you: I have worked with coffee for four years now as a barista, a barista trainer, and a roaster. I’ve tried several positions in this industry but being behind the bar is the best.
Anyone you’d like to thank? So. Many. People. Here goes: Mia and Petri for teaching me everything about coffee and supporting me since day one of my career. Alexander and Teija for advice and helping me to get access to the tastiest coffees in the world. Most importantly, Kaisa for doing this crazy thing with me yet again. She is the best coach/girlfriend/designer anybody could ask for!

 

FRANCE—Marco De Sousa Rosa
Representing MaxiCoffee
Instagram: @le_cafeinoman
About you: A self-taught barista and roaster, I started my coffee career as a barman in Paris trying to find out how to make a better cup for my customers. I didn’t think that I’d find such a deep universe hiding in that little bean. Now, as head roaster at Cafés Lugat/MaxiCoffee, I travel to different coffee-producing countries to source beans, work on roasting profiles, and try out new machines from leading manufacturers.
Anyone you’d like to thank? My coach, Lionel Galut.


GERMANY—
Chloe Jess Nattrass
Independent
Instagram: @chloe.j.nattrass
About you: I’m an Australian who has adopted Berlin as her home for the past seven years. I was drawn to Germany’s young coffee scene because of how little was known about specialty here, and its potential to become a coffee capital in Europe, which it now has. Berlin is my coffee home. Always will be.
Anyone you’d like to thank? I could write an essay naming names, but every one of my amazing team at Henauer coffee in Switzerland. Fransisco and Fransisco, everyone at Exclusive. My team of friends and talented coffee kids in Berlin at Bonanza, The Barn, Five Elephant, Kaffee Neun, Isla, and many more. And naturally my partner and family for the never-ending support and love.


GREECE—
Konstantinos Iatridis
Representing Taf
Instagram: @konstantinos_iatridis
About you: Although I am a passionate coffee lover and excited to serve customers, my big love is fishing. I love spending time at the sea. It inspires me with the fascinating view and the relaxing feelings.
Anyone you’d like to thank? Thanks to my mentor, Stefanos Domatiotis, who inspired me and taught me so many things about coffee and beyond. A big thank you to the Ninety Plus team and especially Joseph Brodsky. I thank Yiannis Taloumis for his great vision to change the coffee mentality. And to Jason and Chad Wang, who helped me and supported me when I needed it. Last but not least, my teammates at Taf who have supported me all these years.

 

GUATEMALA—Jenner Fuentes
Representing IQ Café
Instagram: @fuentesjenner
About you: I am a barista and also a businessman. I run a coffee shop. I love what I do. I’m married to Karla Ivonne De La Cruz, and we have a girl, Marzela, and a boy, Diego. What I enjoy the most is training people about coffee.
Anyone you’d like to thank? Noe Castro, Raul Rodas, Jose Dávila, Johny González, Josue González.


HONDURAS—Mary Portillo
Representing Café Capucas
Instagram: @maryportillo12
About you: I am an outgoing person. I like to learn and to experience new things, to know and to share with people the passion of the coffee, to speak to the world of the importance of consuming quality coffee.

 


HONG KONG—
Kapo Chiu
Representing Cupping Room Coffee Roasters
Instagram: @kapoccino_
About you: I’m the owner of Cupping Room Coffee Roasters in Hong Kong. Since 2011, I have competed for four years, and this is my third time competing in WBC.
Anyone you’d like to thank? My team at the Cupping Room, who are excellent covering all the bar shifts so I can put my focus on bigger things.

 

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