Fabrizio is one of my favorite baristas of all time. He’s humble and gracious, he’s courteous, curious and brilliant. He loves the coffee from his home country (which, by the way, has never made it to the finals of the WBC), and he sees it as his responsibility, his mission, to represent it as best he can, to anyone and everyone.
To the 2012 WBC, Fabrizio brought Maragogype, a large bean, that he harvested from the Chiapas region of Mexico. He and some farmer friends went on a midnight ride through the coffee farm to find by moonlight the best coffees of the harvest.
The way he introduced this coffee to his judges, as espresso, was incredibly interesting. He prepared espresso in four different ways, for each of the four judges. For the first, he advised the judge to look for dark brown crema, dried fruit, plums and raisins. For the second, whom he pulled the espresso into a capp cup, he said to look for grapes, and he asked the judge to “play with the cup” He said it would exhibit red fruits in the cup and have a syrupy body. Lastly, he told that judge that the aftertaste would be short but refreshing.
For the third judge, Fabrizio teased that he wanted to introduce him to “the dark side of the Maragogype,” and the flavors would be strong, with beautiful acidity, and an explosion of lemon. Lastly, for the fourth judge, he said he wanted to do a special experiment and represent the coffees’ beautiful sweetness, so he served her the shot spilt in half in two cups.
For his cappuccinos, Fabrizio would present the judges with cups that tasted like fresh pumpkin pie with a macadamia finish.
Moving on to his signature drink, the charming Fabrizio explained how, since he has always liked really fresh coffees, he would be serving coffees 10 days off the roast. He would be using elements of the coffee ”the chaff and the tree leaves ”to make teas to combine with the espresso, in an effort to further illustrate the special qualities of the coffee he loves, from root, to leaf to berry to bean.
Fabrizio, all of Mexico is proud of you, and all of the specialty coffee industry is better for having you in it.