WBC Countdown: Barista Champion of El Salvador William Hernandez




Barista Mag:  Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?

William: My first job was at VIVA ESPRESSO 3 years ago. After graduating from high school, I began studying graphic design.

BMag: How did you get started in coffee?

William:  I was looking for a job ”any job to make ends meet. VIVA ESPRESSO offered me my first job as a barista, but I would have to start as a waiter first and would have wait until a barista position opened up to begin my barista training. While working as a waiter at VIVA ESPRESSO, my interest in learning about coffee and how to brew it and how to make latte art grew more and more. I was finally called to begin my training two years after and I was very excited. After a couple months of training I was officially promoted to the barista position.


BMag:  What was your first amazing experience with coffee?

William:  I remember this one clearly!…it was the first time I recognised a specific flavour in a coffee!   I was caramel and I remember saying to myself OMG this is just like caramel!

BMag:  Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?

William:  Daniel Mendez, the 2012 barista champion of El Salvador, because he taught me techniques on how to brew coffee and how to make latte art.

BMag:  What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?

William:  I would like to see high-end specialty coffee reach a larger audience and be available more widely. I feel the specialty coffee industry is a very small community that caters to a very small crowd and the rest are missing out.

BMag:  Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:

William:  I would like to meet James Hoffmann because I’ve heard so much about him and how knowledgeable he is about coffee.

BMag:  Name a barista you admire, and why:

William:  Alejandro Mendez because he has been a great inspiration for me! I truly admire his accomplishment in the WBC especially because he achieved it in such a short time after beginning his career in coffee.   He is also a good friend and a very humble guy, both things I respect very much in a person.

BMag:  Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.

William:  I don’t have preference for anyone. I enjoy making coffee for all types of customers.

BMag:  Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?

William:  Can’t say…I would like to travel more to answer this one.

BMag:  Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?

William:  I would love to visit a country that produces coffee with different farming and harvesting practices than those applied in my own country to expand my understanding of the possibilities in coffee. But I don’t have any country in particular in mind at this time.   The most stunning coffee I’ve tasted was from Kenya, so it could be interesting to go there.

BMag:  What are your interests outside of coffee?

William:  Graphic design and football (soccer).

BMag:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

William:  I definitely see myself working in coffee.   I would like to make specialty coffee more more widely available.

BMag:  Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?

William:  I would like to thank Federico Bolanos for his knowledge and experience preparing baristas for competition, and Alejandro Mendez for being there next to me training everyday.




About Sarah 933 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.