WBC remainders: a compendium

April 22, 2005 – 7:08 pm

in the interest of providing a vital service to readers (OTHER than the live-blogging of espresso smackdown events) below are obscure facts brazenly ripped from media coverage of the world barista championship. (yet another reason bloggers don’t get first-amendment protections)

* u.s. champion and vietnamese refugee phuong tran “worked with Zoka for months to come up with the perfect roast to use during her competition.” (yes, but you’d also get to drink all that delicious liquid.) also: “competitors are judged on everything from the color of their espresso to the cleanliness of their tablecloths.” phuong’s specialty drink? “crimson sage.” that’s remakably similar to LAST year’s u.s. champ who, as i recall, pioneered the use of sage. barista plagiarism, i say!
and finally: “Tran discovered she had missed the final round by only half a point. That’s an incredible margin for a 12-hundred-point score sheet. But her outstanding performance is an indication of just how far America has come in the world of coffee.”
Source: Voice of America. (story and audio here)

* world champion dane troels overdal poulsen “carried 12 liters of fresh, whole milk from his native Denmark” for his brews. and: “Poulsen’s signature drink, called ESB for “enhanced sensory balance,” mixed pepper, espresso and lavender.” which senses are we balancing here? sort of strange, until you recall the wasabi mocha from the southeast regionals (though THAT drink wasn’t sanctioned by the eventual standings), and then this: “Carl Sara of New Zealand mixed egg whites, cinnamon and mandarin rind into his espresso, then served it on a tray smoking with dry ice.” still more senses, in other words. i detect a new numeric scoring component!
same article said troels is the THIRD world champion from the SAME copenhagen cafe. note to self: add daily fares, greenville to copenhagen, to the automatic alert list.
Source: Chicago Tribune. (story here)

* now THIS is approaching the reportorial level of specificity we were looking for: “A melted pepper espresso drink helped Danish barista Troels Overdal Poulsen win the World Barista Championship in Seattle today. … It included espresso served with a touch of lavendar syrup and a pepper flavoring that was served in a soup spoon and melted with a torch just before tasting.” fire is good. chemically enhanced fire is even better. and: “As he prepared the drinks, Poulsen explained the source of the ingredients and suggested how the judges should taste them for maximum effect. “Introduce a lot of air with that one,” he instructed the judges as they tasted the pepper concoction.” evidently the micro-froth was entirely too micro.
more on third-place finisher salvatore piccolo: “The special drink he poured for judges was zabaglione, with vanilla chantilly whipped cream and caramelized pear.”
Source: The Seattle Times (story here)

* sweet photo of the champ serving his pepper-flame-torched-yeow whatever signature drink to the judges.
Source: The Seattle Times. (gallery here)

* cheesiest headline? “The ultimate grounds keeper,” from the chicago trib. honorable mention: “It’s a frothy fight to be the best barista,” from the free new mexican … whatever that is.