If Chan’s performance seems a little familiar, you’re not alone: he works for Kapo, the owner of the Cupping Room in Hong Kong. Kapo was the second-place finisher at the WBC in 2014. He’s using Cerro Azul Geisha, which Kapo used last year, which was roasted by Andy Sprenger of Sweet Bloom (who happens to be the cover feature of the February + March 2015 issue of Barista Magazine!) which Andy used to win the U.S. Brewers Cup. Twice. Whew.
But Chan is a total innovator, to be sure. OK, so he already had his hands on an amazing coffee, from an amazing roaster. Cool ”done. Chan then had plenty of time to create this beautiful spectacle of a performance. In fact, he had a lot of time: Hong Kong’s national championship took place in August of 2014. Talk to a barista competitor about whether it’s a good thing, and you’ll get lots of opinions: it’s too much time, some say. You over practice, or you think you have more time than you really do so you actually run out of time. I haven’t asked Chan what his opinion is on the matter, but it’s obviously worked out pretty darn well for him.
Temperature variation is the name of today’s game for many of the competitors: Chan interprets in the most unusual way though ”he sous vides his coffee. That’s right, that Swedish cooking method where you put the food ”or in this case, coffee ”in a vacuum packed plastic bag, and then you cook it in a hot water bath. Chan wanted to eliminate any possibility that the grinder would overheat his coffee. Fascinating.
He asked a super interesting question: why do some coffees taste amazing on the cupping table, or as filter coffee, and then they’re not great as espresso? This proved to be the thesis of his performance. Working closely with both Kapo and Andy, Chan found the way, using temperature, to solve that problem.
He is very young but has this incredible wisdom about him ”I thoroughly enjoyed this. Chan’s performance was the first day that made me think immediately, wait ”I need to watch that again right now. There was so much packed into it. So many compelling questions and ideas. This guy’s going places ”fast.