Reliving the 2015 WBC Finals: France’s Charlotte Malaval

Barista Magazine’s editor Sarah Allen and publisher Kenneth R. Olson have been personally reporting on and photographing the World Barista Championship final round since 2005, when Barista Magazine launched. Sarah sits at the side of the stage, madly typing as she records the performance of each finalist, while Ken traverses the stage with his camera, stopping back by the side of the stage periodically so Sarah can download his photos.

The result is live reporting on each finalist, with photos up to the minute from the stage. But since the WBC finals day is a pretty busy one in the world of coffee, sometimes these posts that showcase the amazing talents of the 6 WBC finalists get lost in the shuffle.

We decided to repost them individually this week to give each finalist the attention they so richly deserve.

BY SARAH ALLEN
PHOTOS BY KENNETH R. OLSON

I saw Charlotte compete in the French Barista Championship in February ”she was marvelous then, but she’s grown into something else entirely since. Working with roaster (and multi-time Italian Barista Champ, plus 2013 WBC finalist Francesco Sanapo’s coffee  ditta Artigianale), and  Cafes Richard’s  Michael McCauley ”himself a WBC certified judge, as well as the coach of 2013 World Coffee In Good Spirits Champion Victor Delpierre ”Charlotte has spent pretty much the whole time since winning in Lyon, France, practicing for the WBC.

2015 WBC Finals: France's Charlotte Malava
Charlotte wasn’t nervous ”like, at all. She’s pretty amazing.

She’s independent right now, meaning she doesn’t work for a particular company, but she certainly has a team behind her comprised of Francesco and Michael, of course, as well as Dana Lynn, quality manager of Cuatro M in El Salvador, who sourced the coffee; Emilio Lopez Diaz, who owns  Cuatro M, where Charlotte’s coffee went through the famous black honey process (and of course, Emilio is the producer of 2014 USBC Champ Laila Ghambairi’s award-winning coffee); and the whole  Specialty Coffee Association of France  organization; and others.

2015 WBC Finals: France's Charlotte Malava
It’s a capacity audience in the World Barista Championship hall here, but Charlotte somehow makes us feel we’re just spending a quiet, intimate afternoon with her in a cafe.

Don’t be fooled by how sweet and adorable Charlotte is ”she’s one tough woman. She’s a fighter, and she fought to be here, for sure. Her placing in the WBC finals sets a record for how close France has ever come to winning the WBC (previously Luca Casadei, an amazing barista, placed 7th in 2014 in Melbourne).

2015 WBC Finals: France's Charlotte Malava
Her experiments with how flavor in coffee changes through temperature variations was unique and incredibly well done.

I urge you to watch Charlotte’s performance online. Her sig drink, where she plays with temperatures, glance and acidity in a Breaking Bad-style science experiment involving beakers, siphons, a Yama brewer, and of course, pitchers in the colors of the French flag, is mesmerizing.

Will Charlotte become the first woman to win the World Barista Championship? It’s quite possible she will.

 

 

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