For three days last week, while the world’s best baristas were competing, some of the world’s best coffee equipment and sourcing companies had also gathered to showcase what they have to offer. The World of Coffee event, organized by the SCAE, took place in the shimmering Messe Wien convention center in downtown Vienna.
These events can quickly lead to sensory overload, from all the free coffee, conversations and shiny things to touch. So these are only highlights that captured my attention.
La Marzocco got my vote for the best designed booth. From the use of Jon Contino’s black and white illustrations to the wood paneled GS3 centerpiece. I was surrounded by visual awesome while waiting for Michael Phillips and other high caliber baristas to pull shots of rotating espresso on the candy colored Strada.
If you wanted to get a feel for the equipment yourself, you could pull your own shots at the Strada station or wait in line for a glimpse of the hybrid Linea—the Strinea?
If you weren’t in the mood for espresso, Marco built an epic brew bar staffed by an international roster of baristas brewing a rotating selection of the world’s finest coffee. The cross shaped Marco bar was outfitted with Über boilers, Über hoses, and Vario-W grinders, as well as ample space for brewing demos and experimentation with guests.
There was a second brew bar at Marco’s main booth nearby, where you could hang out with Koppi’s Anne & Charles who were working alongside Charles Babinski to brew even more delicious filter coffee and serve it with a smile.
If espresso or filter coffee weren’t what you were looking for, Nordic Approach (Tim Wendelboe & Morten Wennersgaard’s coffee sourcing company) were hosting very popular cuppings every few hours throughout the week.
Both the Ethiopian and Kenyan cuppings were too full to get a spoon, but I showed up for a Honduras and Guatemala cupping that had several delights on the table.
Several pour over companies had a presence at the event as well. For the first time, I encountered more Kalita waves than Hario V60s being used at various booths. Kalita also had a stand of their own, showcasing their lovely selection of brewing kettles and glassware that continue to grow as a popular alternative to Hario.
Hario was also present with the new products they showed off in Portland, including their new timer/scale, smaller and electric Buono kettles, syphon concept and double walled glassware. Even with all the new competition, I think Hario make some of the best looking glass products you can buy—all brewing preferences aside.
Swedish-based Espresso Gear was also showing off a variety of Tiamo gear which is one of the newer brands to appear in the growing pour over scene. Tiamo is priced at the lower end of the cost spectrum, but offers several unique designs—as well as some questionably blatant knock-offs of their competitors products.
After an overload of pour over cones and pouring kettles, I wandered back to the espresso side of the showroom to get a better look at the French-made Unic espresso machines and learn about their new Viper pressure profiling system on the Stella di Caffé.
The machine offers a unique design, more akin to an 80′s arcade than the sexy lines of a La Marzocco or the grown-up aesthetic of a Nouva Simonelli. A touchpad interface and glowing light bar, combined with manual hot-rod levers add to its MechWarrior vibe.
The pressure profiling system is computer programmable (with a manual option), making the profiles consistent and repeatable. It also has a unique hydraulic assist in the grouphead, making it surprisingly easy to lock in the portafilter.
I’d be interested to hear feedback from any baristas with more experience who have worked with the Viper System. While I’m not a huge fan of the machines overall look, I was definitely impressed by some of its details and features.
I was also pleased to meet Julie Smith-Clementi, one of the owners of notNuetral—who makes specialty coffee’s iconic ceramic cups that were developed in partnership with Intelligentsia. Their booth had a spread of various cup sizes and graphic samples, including these from NYC’s Doughnut Plant (a personal favorite).
Julie also gave me an exclusive peek at a prototype of their next product in development—a thinner, more refined version of their popular Lino espresso and cappuccino cups. I look forward to sharing the final product once they’re complete.
With soo much to see at these events, it’s impossible to capture it all while also trying to watch as much of the barista competitions as possible. Overall, this was another great show that’s a bit more intimate and manageable than others I’ve been to in the past. But with so many great people gathered in one place, it’s impossible to not enjoy yourself.
On the far side of the Vienna convention center, the World Brewer’s Cup took place for its second year. This younger brother of the World Barista Championship, showcases a barista’s ability to brew great filter coffee consistently.
This year, Matt Perger from ST.ALi in Melbourne took home the title. If his name sounds familiar, the 21 year old Australian placed third in last year’s World Barista Championship, proving his versatility as a barista and making him the first person to place so high in both competitions.
Matt brewed his coffee, a washed Panama Geisha from Finca Santa Teresa, using a Hario v60. The presentation was built around the importance of grind uniformity and the damage that “fines” have on the extraction of coffee. The coffee was brewed to an extraction ratio of 23% (usually overextracted and bitter), while explaining how its possible to do this once the fines are removed.
Matt also discussed the importance of water and the huge impact it has on extracting the proper flavors from coffee. He created his own blend after experimenting with 6 different waters to reach his desired ratio of 110ppm.
As someone who prefers to drink and prepare filter coffee—I really appreciated watching this event, which has a more informal and intimate atmosphere. The finals contained many great presentations, using a broad range of brew methods. There’s a lot of potential in this competition and I look forward to watching it grow.
Congratulations to Matt Perger, your 2012 World Brewer’s Cup Champion!
++ World Brewer’s Cup Champion: Matt Perger, Australia 2nd: Andy Sprenger, USA 3rd: Cristos Loukakis, Greece 4th: Anthony Benda, Canada 5th: James Bailey, UK 6th: Robert Gruber, Austria
This week, 54 of the world’s best baristas shared their talent, knowledge and passion for coffee as they competed to be named the best in the world. After 3 rounds of inspiring presentations, an overflowing stadium in Vienna watched as Raul Rodas from Guatemala was crowned the 13th World Barista Champion.
Raul is now the second champion from a coffee producing country to have won the title, following last year’s winner Alejandro Mendez from El Salvador. The second place winner, Fabrizio Ramirez of Mexico, reinforced the message that coffee growing countries are able to produce world class baristas as well as the beans themselves.
As Alejandro announced the top two competitors, he switched to their native Spanish to share the proud moment with everyone in their home countries. Both competitors embraced as the stadium erupted in applause. After being handed a trophy and Guatemalan flag, we all stood in honor of Raul while his national anthem rang overhead.
Raul competed with a natural processed coffee from Guatemala and presented one of the most complex signature drinks in the competition, which involved having the judges taste 2 different drinks and then swapping them to fulfill rule requirements. (Visit Sprudge for the details of Raul’s signature drink)
It was incredible to experience the energy of the competition first hand and watch the best in the industry present their love of coffee at the highest levels. By the end of the finals, it was hard to guess who would win. But having had the pleasure of watching Raul work at two Coffee Common events, I’m excited and confident that he will represent coffee as well as anyone could over the next year and beyond.
Congratulations to Raul Rodas, the new World Barista Champion!
++ World Barista Champion: Raul Rodas, Guatemala 2nd: Fabrizio Sención Ramírez, Mexico 3rd: Colin Harmon, Ireland 4th: Miki Suzuki, Japan 5th: Stefanos Domatiotis, Greece 6th: Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, United Kingdom
Over the next 4 days, the world’s best baristas—representing more than 50 countries—will be competing in Vienna for the title of World Barista Champion. The winner will become a global ambassador of Specialty Coffee and a representative of coffee at its best. This year’s champion will become the 13th barista to hold the title, following last year’s winner, Alejandro Mendez from El Salvador.
The competition format is fairly straight forward to watch, but the specifics of judging are a bit more complex. In simplest terms, each barista has 15 minutes to serve three drinks to 4 sensory judges—a single espresso, a cappuccino and a signature beverage.
The drinks from each category can be presented in any order, but all drinks in a category must use the same coffee and be served to all 4 judges before the drinks from a different category can be served. There are also 2 technical judges who monitor bar cleanliness and the proper use of equipment, while a head judge oversees timekeeping and that all rules are properly followed. (Complete WBC Rules)
If you’re interested, you can watch the entire event for free on Livestream. Also follow @Sprudge on Twitter for the best text-based coverage of the event or visit Sprudge’s website for competition schedules and other frothy details.
In the last week or so, you may have seen me posting a link and asking for your vote to help send me to Vienna—some of you have enthusiastically obliged. Thank you all!
For those who haven’t yet voted, I want to explain the contest and how you can help. Natvia, an all-natural sweetener company, and their partners, are giving away 8 trips to the World Barista Championship this summer in Vienna. In the past, I’ve covered several coffee events on DCILY and there will be many more to come—all of which are paid for out-of-pocket. It would be great to have my travel and lodging covered for one of these coffee escapades while sharing more great content with DCILY readers. Help me represent coffee lovers everywhere at this year’s WBC.
To help out, just register and vote once (it will only take a minute of your time).
Step 2: Validate your email address by clicking on the link emailed to you. Step 3:Visit my profile and click the heart to show DCILY some love.
Bonus: Everyone who registers to vote also has a chance to win $1000.
I’m already in the lead thanks to everyone’s support—let’s keep it going!
There will also be challenges throughout the contest where I’ll be humbly sharing my (lack of) latte art skills and more. Once you’re registered you’ll be able to vote for these too if you’d like to show extra support. So if you’ve ever spent time enjoying the content here on DCILY help send me to Vienna where I can continue to bring you even more.