The World Barista Championships (WBC) give espresso professionals from all over the world a platform to showcase their knowledgeable data and high-level abilities.
Nevertheless, so as to take action efficiently, a WBC competitor should first supply a high-quality espresso that can stand out on the worldwide stage.
The Gesha selection has lengthy been a agency selection of many rivals, however now greater than ever, lesser-known arabica varieties and even different species are beginning to turn out to be the territory of WBC finalists.
So, how do espresso professionals go about discovering these coffees? And what components must be taken into consideration when sourcing espresso for the WBC?
I spoke to 3 WBC rivals to seek out out. Learn on to be taught extra about what they advised me.
You may additionally like our article on how to decide on a coach for barista championships.
Which coffees are common on the WBC?
It’s no shock that unique, top-scoring varieties are generally utilized in espresso competitions – particularly Gesha.
The arabica selection was first found within the Nineteen Thirties in Ethiopia, however it wasn’t till 2004 that it took the business by storm. On the Better of Panama public sale the identical yr, a Gesha offered for a then record-breaking US $21/lb. Seventeen years on in 2021, the file worth paid on the public sale was a staggering US $2,560/lb.
Because of its fame for terribly prime quality and delicate floral flavours, many espresso competitors individuals go for Gesha. Between 2011 and 2019, seven of the 9 World Brewers Cup champions gained utilizing this selection. WBC rivals are additionally recognized to decide on Gesha for his or her routines.
Nevertheless, over the previous few years, there was a shift away from utilizing Gesha within the WBC. As a substitute, rivals are deciding to showcase the flavours and aromas of different varieties that are equally as intriguing.
For his profitable WBC routine, Saša sourced Sudan Rume espresso from Camilo Merizalde’s Las Nubes farm in Colombia. This selection generally grows in Ethiopia and was typically utilized in blends on the time.
Saša says he particularly selected Sudan Rume for his WBC efficiency due to its distinguished sweetness and readability – permitting it to face out by itself.
Furthermore, he additionally wished to reinforce the flavours and depth of the espresso. To do that, he used the carbonic maceration course of. On the time, this fermentation technique (which was impressed by the identical approach within the wine business) was nonetheless novel within the espresso sector.
Extra lately, on the 2021 WBC, one other lesser-known espresso was utilized by the highest three rivals: Coffea eugenioides. This espresso is a dad or mum species of arabica.
Certainly one of these rivals is Hugh Kelly. He’s a three-time Australian Barista Champion, in addition to the Coaching Supervisor and Head of R&D at ONA Espresso. Hugh positioned third within the 2021 WBC utilizing a eugenioides and liberica mix.
He says he selected eugenioides due to its “tactility and stability of style”.
“Initially, the standard of flavour was a lot worse than different arabica varieties I had tasted, however I felt prefer it might be improved throughout processing,” he provides.
Memorable competitors coffees
On the WBC stage, it’s important that rivals could make their espresso stand out.
Saša says he noticed the potential in eugenioides as a contest espresso when Polish competitor Wojtek Bialczak used it on the 2019 WBC.
“This espresso was very memorable as a result of it had this intense sweetness,” he tells me. “The espresso impressed me.”
Saša explains that he turned extra concerned engaged on a eugenioides espresso for regional competitions with Hugh. After deciding extra work might be achieved with the espresso at farm degree, Hugh met with Julian Holguin from Finca Inmaculada in Colombia. Julian was additionally the producer of Wojtek’s espresso.
Hugh says that when he determined to make use of eugenioides for the 2021 WBC, he and Saša each labored intently with the crew at Finca Inmaculada, in addition to in collaboration with microbiologists from Chr. Hansen in Denmark.
“If you work with a espresso producer for a while, there’s a larger alternative to construct belief,” he explains.
Saša tells me that there was one clear motive that the espresso carried out so effectively, in his opinion.
“The espresso is absolutely candy,” he says. “Particularly within the espresso class, that is all the time one thing that judges will favour.”
How do rivals supply their espresso?
There are a variety of various methods for WBC rivals to supply their espresso. Hugh explains that some espresso professionals obtain espresso from their teaching crew.
“Many rivals are supplied with choices from a coach, mentor, or roaster,” he says. “Some rivals will then blind cup these coffees and select one.
“This may be an effective way to pick a espresso, particularly should you’re not visiting farms; it lets the espresso communicate for itself,” Hugh provides.
Agnieszka Rojewska is the 2018 World Barista Champion. She additionally emphasises that sourcing espresso for the WBC is usually a crew effort.
“You’ll want to encompass your self with a crew of folks that know the best way to supply espresso and the best way to put together for competitions,” she explains. “It’s not nearly discovering espresso, it’s additionally about discovering a crew that may assist to convey one of the best out of that espresso.”
Naturally, sourcing a espresso additionally means connecting with producers to a sure diploma.
“Having somebody in your crew who has current relationships with producers can assist,” Hugh tells me. “Planning to supply your espresso early is a good suggestion, somewhat than counting on producers to have already got some espresso for you.”
Saša emphasises that rivals must discover a espresso that they resonate with.
“The easiest way to decide on a espresso is to know what makes you excited: which international locations, profiles, and flavours do you’re keen on?” he explains. “Does the espresso must be processed in another way to maximise explicit traits that you just like about that espresso?”
Saša provides that he made the choice to go to farms to supply his espresso for the WBC.
“I made a decision to journey throughout Colombia and search for producers that I might work with,” he says. “Sudan Rume was my first selection as a result of it’s a pure mutation of the Bourbon selection, so it’s very candy.
“It has this lovely stone fruit sweetness that jogs my memory of apricot and peach,” he provides. “Even while you simply grind the espresso, it smells candy.”
Nevertheless, even after discovering the proper espresso, additional steps could also be needed to spotlight the flavours and aromas rivals are on the lookout for.
“[With more traditional processing methods], the Sudan Rume didn’t have sufficient flavour and depth,” says Saša. “After speaking to our head roaster, Sam Corra, we determined to introduce carbonic maceration to the producers on the farm.”
How does sourcing for the WBC affect the broader espresso sector?
Since its beginnings, the WBC has been used to showcase excellence within the espresso business – from newly found varieties and species to revolutionary processing strategies.
Nevertheless, traits which are a magnet for momentum on the WBC are inclined to then turn out to be common within the specialty espresso market extra extensively. This implies demand for extra unique coffees and processing strategies can enhance.
“In the end, this isn’t the aim of the competitors,” Agnieszka tells me. “It’s speculated to be a platform to advertise the abilities and data of baristas.
“However in a bid to win, rivals began utilizing very high-quality, costly coffees – it turned a pattern,” she provides.
Saša, in the meantime, sees this as a optimistic factor.
“The WBC is a superb platform as a result of it may possibly form the way forward for the espresso business and push the boundaries from yr to yr,” he says. “If somebody wins with a high-scoring espresso, it proves that it has one thing particular.”
In truth, Saša believes that illustration of extra unique coffees on the WBC stage creates potential for manufacturing and processing to turn out to be extra revolutionary.
“Innovation [is a good thing], so long as it provides extra worth for everybody within the espresso business,” he says. “Previous to 2015, carbonic maceration appeared unimaginable to implement as a result of it was too costly, however now it’s used extra extensively.”
What traits might we see at future WBC occasions?
With this yr’s WBC set to be held in Melbourne from 27 to 30 September 2022, what can we count on to see on the worldwide stage?
Hugh notes that adjustments to the competitors’s certified sponsors might affect which coffees rivals use.
“The Specialty Espresso Affiliation (SCA) moved away from single-dose grinders, like Mahlkönig’s Peak and EK43 fashions, to the on-demand-style Mythos MY75 grinder, so traits are certain to vary transferring ahead.”
Nevertheless, a single-dose funnel designed particularly for Mythos grinders will nonetheless enable WBC rivals to single-dose their espresso.
By way of sure flavour profiles, Saša thinks rivals could take a extra stripped again method to sourcing their espresso– particularly when it comes to processing.
“I don’t assume rivals will use espresso that’s closely processed or fermented,” he says. “The brand new traits appear to be coffees which might be shade-grown and slow-ripened to spotlight the terroir.
“The flavours are clear and refined, however on the identical time very highly effective,” he provides.
Every competitor could have their very own method of sourcing their espresso, however typically talking, shut relationships with the producer you supply from is vital. In the end, these relationships equip WBC rivals to raised perceive their espresso, and assist them to get one of the best out of it for his or her routine.
Loved this? Then learn our article on the best way to roast espresso for barista competitions.
Photograph credit: Hugh Kelly, Saša Šestić, World Espresso Occasions
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