Monday, April 7, 2008

Training with the Champions

I still haven't gotten around to posting about my Guatemala trip. But I have an excuse. Last week we had three full days of training with the Mexican Barista Champion, Salvador "Chava" Benitez Espinosa.

Chava won the Mexican barista championship again this year. He impressed a lot of people in Tokyo with his presentation but this year he's been focusing on learning a lot more about coffee in general. He's been visiting producers, dry mills, exporters and cupped with the best cuppers all over Mexico. He's also been travelling to other countries to see different barista techniques and learn more about different approaches to roasting. Oh, and on top of it all he's learning English, so he can give his presentation in Copenhagen in the oddly 'official' language of the WBC.

With all this newfound knowledge Chava came to Denmark together with Arturo Hernandez, whom many readers will be familiar with from the WBC, to train with us for the championship. It's been three very interesting days, where we've been cupping, training techniques, tasting his signature drink and working on the presentation as a whole.

Chava is one of the most genuinely humble and hard working persons I've ever met. He's always willing to learn and try out new things. I really think he'll do well this summer in Copenhagen and wish him the best of luck with the training until then.

On friday we got a visit from two more champions. Chris Kolbu, the new-crowned Norwegian Barista Champion and WBC and cup tasting champion Tim Wendelboe. We feel kinda bad that none of us have had time to visit Tim's amazing roastery in Oslo yet, since he's now been here twice. But Tim brought three of his coffees along with his espressoblend and we had a really outstanding cupping. His coffees were all so clean and sweet and aromatic. All of them roasted really well. Then Chris pulled us shots and made some delicious cappuccinos. His main goal was to test some of the Danish milk types and the water quality. They noticed the water made their espresso taste very different - something we too notice whenever travelling.

It was (as always) great to hang out with Tim and Chris. We look forward to see Chris' presentation at the WBC too and hope he wont break any cups there (inside joke, sorry).

You can see Chris' pictures here

1 comment:

Chris said...

Those cups were actually the first espresso cups I've ever *broken* since I started working with coffee.

I put this all down to flimsy danish porcelain and your unnecessarily hard floor ;)