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WBC Tokyo Japan Day 2
Author: CoffeeGeek Staff
Posted: August 1, 2007
Article rating: 8.3
feedback: (3) comments | read | write

A warning - the day two reports are sparse, so I do apologise for that. We'll fill out some things with videos courtesy of Zachary Carlson and lots of photos from Jack Hanna. Day two also saw some of the heavyweights of the barista world stepping up to compete, including entrants from the UK, USA, Australia, and Japan.

End of Heats in Sight
Posted by Jack Hanna, 8:15am Permalink to this blog entry

Day two at the World Barista Championship in Tokyo Japan means the last day of the first round heats for the baristas. You could almost hear a sigh of relief on a continual basis, as competitor after competitor finished their heat round, and all the long preparations to present ones' best finally come to fruition. It seems every year that the level of competition rises, and this year is no different - this isn't the WBC of 2003, that's for sure.

James Hoffmann, United Kingdom Barista Champion
Posted by Jack Hanna, 9:55am Permalink to this blog entry

First up today is one of the crowd's big favourites, and also the star of the Harry Potter movies in the title role, James "the Hoff" Hoffmann! He'll be followed soon after by Australian competitor Scott Calaghan, and later on today Heather Perry will step up and represent the United States. Other highlights from today have to be the Japanese champion, and no doubt there'll be a huge crowd on to cheer for the home town favourite.

James' performance was indeed something very special. He was smooth, polished and very well spoken, dressed quite casually, but very much the consummate professional. During James' performance, I was particularly impressed that he was able to identify some less than perfect shot pulls for his cappuccinos, so without much worry or hesitation, he decided to redo the shots, and still finish quite within the time allotment.

One special aspect of James' performance that a few other competitors also did was the cappuccino pouring, done right in front of the judges. Hoffmann is such a natural at pouring latte art that he made it seem like this was they way cappuccinos should be poured and served.

One other early note - many new familiar faces were around today, as more and more of the industry's personalities arrived, and this helped create an even greater atmosphere of community and friendliness in the competition hall.

Here's some pictures of James' performance.

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Hoff warms up
James warming up in his practice round, as coach Steve Morrissey helps out.
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Settng the table
Hoffmann's preset table, featuring nice custom wood settings.
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Barista Tools
Not to be found in your average cafe, these are some of the tools used to make the signature drink.
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Working the grinders
In what may be a surprise for some, Hoffman used two Malkhonig grinders, each containing a single origin. A lot of baristas don't like these grinders because they can clump, but they work well for Jim. I hope he doesn't get docked for the automatic functions!
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As the judges write
James, looking every bit like Mr. Potter, serves the judges as they keep score.

Here's Zachary's video of James' first round performance.


Australian Champion Scott Callaghan
Posted by Mark Prince, 11:20am Permalink to this blog entry

Scotti Callaghan just finished his routine at the WBC, and he looked absolutely brilliant. Finals guarantee for sure, if his coffee was on.

I've seen Scotti compete in the World Latte Art Championship last year in Bern, and was just so impressed with his passion and skill as a barista. I've also seen video of his win in Australia earlier this year, and if anything, his game is amped up even more for the world's. His signature drink looked especially good, and featured a complex build up with lots of foodie science stuff going on.

Scotti apparently had problems with one of his grinders, and was forced to use the same coffee for his espresso and cappuccino rounds; I heard through the grapevine that this may hurt him a bit because his espresso blend wasn't especially well tuned for milk, but he's such an amazing barista, I'm betting he'll be able to pull it off.

Here's some photos courtesy of Jack Hanna, our guy on the scene in Tokyo, followed by Scotti's performance in video format, courtesy of Zachary Carlson's blog.

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Scott gets miked up
The audio technician mikes up Scotti before he heads out for his performance.
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Serving Water
Scotti's setup is very sophisticated - simple, with classic white, black, and silver. Serving water to the judges as he talks up his coffee.
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Scotti serves the cappucinos to the judge. I wonder if the Estonian judge opened the sugar bowl (lower right corner), or if Scotti did that as part of his presentation.
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Scotti and Crew
Scotti and two members of Team Australia after his round, looking happy and mugging for the camera.

Guess who?
Posted by Mark Prince, 3:25pm Permalink to this blog entry

Some may be offended by this mini post, but I make no apologies.

If you're a long time reader of this website, you'll know there's a lot of traditions around here - some very well known, some not so well known. And one tradition tied in with every world barista championship is that a photo such as this one gets taken, and posted on the website.

Now, let's test the readers... can you guess who this is, in this photo ;)

Guess who

Heather Perry, USBC Champion
Posted by Mark Prince, 4:15pm Permalink to this blog entry

Just caught the video performance of Heather Perry over on ZacharyZachary and it was absolutely brilliant. If her coffee was on, she should definitely be in the finals. She's come such a long way from 2003. I have my own video of her 2003 USBC / WBC performance somewhere, I should try to dig it out to give a comparison. She's an amazing representative for the US.

Here's the video of her Tokyo first round, courtesy of Zachary Carlson.

The Finals!
Posted by Jack Hanna, 7:55pm Permalink to this blog entry

It's the end of the day now, and the competitors for the finals were just announced. Only the top six out of the 45 countries represented will be competiting on the final day, for a shot at the elusive title of the world's best Barista!

The top six are as follows (in alphabetical order):

  1. Brazil - Sylvia Magalhaes
  2. Japan - Miyuki Miyamae
  3. New Zealand - Carl Sara
  4. Switzerland - Anna Kaeppeli
  5. United Kingdom - James Hoffmann
  6. United States - Heather Perry

A big shocker this year for the crowd and probably for anyone who follows these things is that, for the first time ever, Scandinavia \ Nordic countries were not included in the final six. This speaks well about the state of the art of the Barista worldwide.

There are also four female competitors in the finals this year, which means the possibility of the first female barista champion this year is very high. It is also the first time that a big producing nation has made it on to the final stage: Brasil is in the finals! Ultimately this bodes well for more recognition in the country's industry for quality espresso and producing great quality coffee.

This is also Switzerland's first final ever, which must make Anna Kaeppeli and her team ecstatic.  To round things out, the Japanese competitor made it into the finals in her home town, marking the second time Japan has had an entrant in the finals of the WBC.

All in all, this is a great prelude to a very exciting Finals day.

Here's some additional photos from the second day at the WBC.

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Article rating: 8.3
Author: CoffeeGeek Staff
Posted: August 1, 2007
feedback: (3) comments | read | write
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