Several of these coffee pros have been paired up to showcase virtual conversations and coffee drink recipes.
BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Urnex
Every year since 2015, Urnex—the ubiquitous manufacturer of coffee cleaning products—gets excited to debut additions to their Global Ambassador Program. The team hand-selects a group of accomplished coffee professionals from across the world, who typically rep the brand by promoting machine cleanliness and providing input on product development. The Ambassadors will usually do this by hosting cleaning demos at coffee events and online, partnering with coffee equipment distributors in their areas, and more. “Last year we started a coffee share program, in which a different Ambassador would provide locally roasted coffee—typically roasted by themselves or their companies—to the broader group of Ambassadors, past and present, around the world,” says Isaac Cohen, vice president of marketing for Urnex, when asked about a favorite past program highlight. “It was a great way to connect the group and sample some amazing coffees.”
Although COVID-19 has prohibited most of these activities from happening this year, the 2020 team of Ambassadors has still been a strong force, with a few newly added members, too.
This year, unlike previous, some of the new members are not typically covered in coffee media, which gives the group a stronger representation of the coffee community outside of the competition world. “As a company, we are very active in supporting coffee competitions,” explains Isaac. “And our Ambassador program reflects this; our Ambassadors have all competed and won coffee competitions on a national and sometimes global level. We find competitors to be knowledgeable, thoughtful, articulate, and inspiring to the broader specialty-coffee community. This year more than in the past, we worked closely with our key global distributors to identify coffee professionals and competitors who would be strong contributors to support the Urnex brand through local initiatives and activities.”
That being said, the additions to this year’s Global Ambassadors are:
Winston Thomas, South Africa: Winston took the crown for the South African Barista Championships in 2017, 2018, and 2020, and is a freelance consultant, trainer, and barista.
Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, Greece: Michalis is the 2019 World Barista Championship runner-up, the champion of 2016’s World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship, and the owner of The Rabbit Punch in Athens.
Mikael Jasin, Indonesia: Mikael is the owner of So So Good Coffee Company, and is the first-place winner of the 2019 and 2020 Indonesia Barista Championships. He was also a finalist in 2019’s World Barista Championship.
For the full list of Ambassadors, check out the returning members here.
To replace in-person events, Urnex has established a variety of activities focused on digital content to keep Ambassadors engaged with the community. This year, they’ve introduced pairings, in which several members have been teamed up for live chats and coffee cocktail demos on Urnex’s Instagram TV page. Some examples of these pairings include discussions with Andrea Allen and returning Ambassador Sam Spillman, Matt Winton talking to Mikael Jasin, and Alejandro Escobar chatting with Mexican coffee industry pro Ximena Rubio.
More pairings and chats will be coming from the team this year, so be sure to stay tuned to Urnex’s Instagram for more content by the Ambassadors themselves!