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 this week of all 58 National Barista Champions.
Monday, 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. Read the profiles here.
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. Read the profiles here.
TODAY, 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!
Representing 7g Roaster
About you: I am the roaster and head barista of 7g Roaster in Portugal! I love all things about coffee and I love to learn more about it every day!
PUERTO RICO—Edwin Gorritz
Representing Barista Squared
About you: I have been a barista for eight years, and in this journey, I became a Q-Grader, roaster, and coffee shop owner. I had the pleasure of representing Puerto Rico in the World Coffee in Good Spirits competition in 2013 and 2015.
Anyone you’d like to thank? I would first like to thank the person that introduced me to specialty coffee who is also my coach: my wife, Helena. I would also like to thank Lucemy, Alfredo, the Puerto Rico Barista Team, and the crew at Barista Squared.
REPUBLIC OF KOREA—Junbae Bang
Representing Andrea Plus
About you: I am a barista for the company, and I am currently working in general QC, training, and R&D of coffee. It has been eight years since I began specialty coffee, and it has been five years since I started competing. As the representative of Korea, I will do my best to promote the excellence of the South Korean coffee market.
Anyone you’d like to thank? Thank you to Chairman Sang Gyu Lee of the Korea Coffee Association, and all my company members, including Andrea and Sang Hyeon Choi. And I give thanks and respect to barista Jin Kyu Kim.
About you: I’m a 24-year-old who bumped into coffee three years ago. I was amazed by the multitude of flavors a cup can develop, and since then, my tasteful journey has continued.
Anyone you’d like to thank? Mihai Panfil for being my coach, boss, and friend, and the whole team at Origo for their support. Vlad and Dan from Steam Coffee Shop for helping with my routine.
Representing Laboratoria Coffee
About you: I’ve worked with coffee for 14 years. In the Russian Barista Championship, I’ve taken part for two years, and I am very happy with my victory this year. For the last three years, I have been mainly engaged in roasting coffee, and this competition helped me better understand the beans as a barista.
Anyone you’d like to thank? I am grateful to my company, the team, and my coach.
Representing Santino Coffee Specialists
About you: Coffee has always been a big part of my life: My grandparents own a store that serves Singapore’s local coffee, still today. I got to learn how to brew espresso coffee by chance 12 years ago just before I got enlisted into the Army. The coffee seed planted in me started to grow. Since then, I learned to be the “chef” of coffee, a barista. I have been through multiple barista championships with the dream to represent the country at WBC. Now, my dream came true.
Anyone you’d like to thank? Firstly, Santino Coffee Specialists for the support they’ve given. Charlize, who is my GM and coach, for giving great insight from the point of view of judges in championship. Secondly, 2 Degrees North and Yi Yang, for roasting my coffee and going through the cupping sessions together. Thirdly, my family and my fiancé, for believing in my abilities since my first Nationals. Lastly, friends and baristas who have been part of my life journey.
SOUTH AFRICA—Winston Thomas
Representing Origin Coffee Roasting
About you: I am the head barista, barista trainer, and part of the wholesale tea at Origin Coffee Roasting in Cape Town. This is my second year of competition and my first time competing at the WBC.
Anyone you’d like to thank? Firstly, I must thank God for bringing me this far on my coffee journey. Secondly, my Origin Coffee Roasting family, more specifically owner Joel Singer, who has done a lot to support me at competitions. Team SA at WBC in Dublin 2016. Lastly, all of my sponsors, coaching team, and support team past and present. There are way too many names to mention, but you know who you are. Thank you all!
Representing Mare Terra Green Coffee
About you: I am currently working in quality control at Mare Terra. I also collaborate as a trainer for the Spanish Coffee Institute Foundation. I have been in the specialty-coffee world for nine years.
Anyone you’d like to thank? Timur Dudkin for all the support offered, the advice, and the hours invested of passion, and Mare Terra for the support. Without them, it would not have been possible to get here.
Representing The Barista League
About you: Strangely, or perhaps not so, I only found good coffee after moving from Australia to Sweden in 2012. Ever since, I’ve been lucky enough to work with and learn from some of the leaders of the Scandinavian coffee scene. I have developed the Barista League from an impromptu gathering of 10 baristas in a countryside roaster (2015) to an event attracting hundreds of the best coffee professionals from all over Northern Europe (2017).
Anyone you’d like to thank? da Matteo. Ally Coffee. Urnex. Many, many more!
Representing UCC Coffee Switzerland
About you: Currently I am working as a marketing director at UCC Coffee in Switzerland. It might look unusual at first sight, but being a marketing director and a barista at the same time is an interesting thing: There is no better way to be closer to your consumers and also closer to the industry professionals who push the coffee industry to the next level.
Anyone you’d like to thank? First of all, a big thank you to my wife. A special thank you also to my boss, Marco Giuoco, from UCC Coffee Switzerland, who kept believing in me all the way and allowed me to practice during my working hours and also for the financial support. I had the great honor to learn from one of the best within the specialty-coffee world, Hidenori Izaki. Fritz Storm is always there as my mentor. Someone had to turn the green beans into brown ones: Thank you so much, Jake. Also a big thank you to Loïc and Daniel from the Swiss UCC team. And finally, thank you to the UCC Tokyo team.
Representing Single Origin Espresso & Roast
About you: I was born in Taiwan and grew up in Canada. It was back then in Calgary that I first began my foray into coffee. Eventually, I migrated back to the mystical land of Asia. I do a little bit of everything: mainly as a barista, cupper, and consultant.
Anyone you’d like to thank? The list is still growing so I have to save this answer until the very end.
Representing Factory Coffee
About you: My nickname is Bew. People call me Blur Bew. I’m the head barista from Factory Coffee in Bangkok, and I’ve been a barista for nine years.
Anyone you’d like to thank? My teammates, the Factory Coffee crew.
About you: I am an independent consultant and trainer. I do freelance jobs, product development, brand ambassadorship, and coffee sourcing. I’ve been competing for three years, and this will be my second WBC. I love to work on anything about the coffee industry.
Anyone you’d like to thank? Thanks to my family and girlfriend and also my friends who helped me a lot. And my business partners and sponsors.
Representing Lion Coffee
About you: I have been involved in the coffee industry for three years. I have my own coffee shop, Lion Coffee, in Kiev. I am glad to represent my country in the world championship.
Anyone you’d like to thank? Thanks to my team and everyone who was involved in the preparation!
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES—Mai Eson
Representing The Espresso Lab
About you: I’ve been in the specialty-coffee industry for four years now and I currently work as a head barista in the Espresso Lab Dubai. I was never a coffee drinker—not until I started my first job in a busy café and got hooked up with coffee. I started studying more about it and explored until I got involved in some competitions.
Anyone you’d like to thank? I would like to thank wholeheartedly my Espresso Lab Team (Fred, Freddy, Mark Small, Mark Big, Danny, Kemal), my boss, Ibrahim, and my coach, Romeo Perello.
UNITED KINGDOM—Dale Harris
Representing Hasbean Coffee
About you: I’ve worked in coffee for a long while; competition has been a big part of my time in coffee, but it’s also the excitement of new flavors, working with passionate people, and seeing how something seemingly simple can lead to incredible complexity—in the cup, economically—bringing lots of very different people and experiences together.
Anyone you’d like to thank? Pete Williams, my coach; Jenn Rugolo, my partner; Steve Leighton, my friend, boss, and roaster; and the whole team at Hasbean.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA—Kyle Ramage
Representing Black & White Coffee
About you: I have competed for the last four to five years, mostly to not-super-great results, but last year things really turned around when I fell into being the coach of the 2016 USBC winner Lem Butler. Through that experience I gained not only a great friend but also a coach and business partner. Through him, I also met Jose Gallardo, the most inspiring and interesting coffee producer I have ever encountered. In September we opened Black & White Coffee Roasters in Wake Forest, N.C. We are excited for our new venture.
Anyone you’d like to thank? My wife, who put up with all my craziness. Lem Butler, coach, business partner, friend. Gary Horne.
Representing Bosgaurus Coffee
About you: My name is Han and I’m a barista from Bosgaurus Coffee. I love talking and making friends!
Anyone you’d like to thank? I want to thank my team—Bosgaurus Coffee team—who have tried their best to support me from the very beginning. And I want to thank the farmers; they’ve provided me with the best beans.