Wonderful Copenhagen, Wonderful Coffee 2008, home of the WBC. For those of you who don't know, the World Barista Championships were held in June this year, in Copenhagen. 51 national barista champions from around the world converged on the Øksnehallen in the centre of Copenhagen. The level of competition was incredible, with some truely inspiring signature drnks being created. The UK entry, Hugo Hercod, did his country proud, placing tenth overall.
After round one, the 51 baristas were whitled down to six finalists; David Makin (Australia), Liesbeth Sleijster (Netherlands), Daniel Remheden (Sweden), Soren Stiller Markussen (Denmark), Michael Yung (Canada) and Stephen Morrissey (Ireland). The finals were packed, with people crowding around any TV screen they could find, the various trade stands around the main hall showing the live internet feed. Even the seperate SCAE competitiom stand was packed, a live feed being shown on the video screens.
The whole atmosphere of the finals was electric. Each of the baristas seemed more laidback and seemed to be having more fun the second time around. None embodied this more than Stephen. During the first round his signature drink (espresso with melted chocolate, panacotta and blueberry jam) had gone wrong, with his panacottas falling over. Second time around he seemed a lot more slick, as though he was happy simply getting through to the finals. As it turned out, Stephen left Copenhagen the World Barista Champion.
Around the WBC was a fantastic trade show. Companies from all corners of the coffee world turned up. Never have I been given so much fantastic, free coffee! Even as a barista the trade show was a great way of building up contacts, learning new things, and even keeping you interested for four days.
I should also mention the SCAE competitions; The Latte art championship, Coffee In Good Spirits, the Cupping Championship, and the Ibrik/Cezve competition. I didn't get to see much of these, but managed to catch a couple of the latte art contestants. They are some incredibly talented baristas, and are well worth a look.
So, four days of barista goodness, and well worth a look for anyone interested in coffee. It's in Atlanta next year, sometime in May.
Hope to see you there!