The global specialty coffee community assembled in the beautiful city of Belo Horizonte in Brazil for a spectacular International Coffee Week and the 2018 World Coffee Championships. From November 7-9, more than 100 national coffee champions from around the world traveled to Brazil to compete in the World Brewers Cup Championship, the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, the World Latte Art Championship, and the World Cup Tasters Championship.
We were thrilled to witness all the competition action live in Belo Horizonte last week, and were captivated by the wonderful coffees, innovative brewing techniques, beautiful artistic designs and accurate palates by the brewers, bartenders, latte artists and coffee tasters.
Here’s a breakdown of the winning performances of the new world champions from each of the four competitions.
Urnex is proud to be the Qualified Cleaning Products Sponsor of the 2018 World Coffee Championships.
World Brewers Cup Championship
Emi Fukahori of Switzerland, 2018 World Brewers Cup Champion (photo: Rodrigo Torii)
The winner of the 2018 World Brewers Cup Championship is Emi Fukahori representing Switzerland, the first woman in history to win the competition. Emi used a Brazilian coffee from the Cerrado Minerio region produced by the Daterra farm. Emi was delighted by the coffee, a bourbon mutation called Laurina, because of its juicy mouthfeel and elegant flavors without any lingering bitterness present. Emi was the only finalist in the Brewers Cup Championship to not use the Gesha coffee variety in her performance.
Emi used a unique brewing method from Slovenia that combines immersion and drip brewing. The brewer that Emi used looked like an ordinary piece of manual pourover equipment, but it integrated a valve at the base of the brewer. This valve gave Emi the ability to toggle between allowing the water to pass through the coffee, like a traditional drip brew, or to hold the water to coalesce with the coffee grounds, like an immersion brewer. This fusion brewing method created a complex blend of flavors that dynamically changed as the coffee temperature transitioned from hot (pineapple and red grape) to warm (red grape and rum) to cool (red grape and green apple).
Emi collaborated with two Urnex Ambassadors in her preparation for the Brewers Cup Championship. Mathieu Theis is Emi’s partner in life and at Mame Coffee in Zurich, and he finished third in this year’s World Barista Championship. Lex Wenneker, who finished second at this year’s WBC, roasted Emi’s championship-winning coffee at his roastery, Friedhats, in Amsterdam.
2018 Brewers Cup Championship Finalists:
- Emi Fukahori, Switzerland
- Regine Wai Yee Beng, Malaysia
- Stathis Koremtas, Greece
- Pang-Yu Liu, Taiwan
- Kaoru Kamiyama, Japan
- Yeo Qing He, Singapore
World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship
Dan Fellows of the UK, 2018 World Coffee in Good Spirits Champion (photo: Georgia Thome)
The winner of the 2018 World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship is Dan Fellows representing the United Kingdom. In Dan’s first year participating in coffee competitions in 2012, Dan advanced to the finals round of the WCiGS Championship. In that competition, Dan had trouble with his Aeropress during his performance. But in this year’s championships, he redeemed himself with a smooth performance and delicious cocktails to catapult him to the title.
Dan created a warm designed beverage that he called “A Message from El Salvador,” celebrating a range of producers of that country that provided his ingredients. Dan used a semi-washed Red Pacamara coffee from Finca San Antonio paired with an El Salvadorian rum as the base of the cocktail. Dan added complimentary ingredients of El Salvadorian cascara-infused Gouveia cachaça, Pedro Ximinex and a spiced butter mix to produce flavors of Christmas pudding, brandy butter and dark chocolate orange.
For his Irish Coffee course, Dan created a Caribbean Irish Coffee filled with tropical flavors of the island nations. He brewed a naturally-process Yellow Pacamara in a Clever Dripper as his coffee base to build a foundation of passion-fruit and pineapple flavors. He created a blend of three Speyside whiskies to contribute to the tropical flavor of the drink. He topped off the drink with double cream from The Estate Dairy in the United Kingdom.
Dan has already won the 2019 UK Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, so he will defend his world title next June at the 2019 WCiGS Championship in Berlin.
2018 World Coffee in Good Spirits Finalists:
- Dan Fellows, United Kingdom
- Manos Mamakis, Greece
- Danny Wilson, Australia
- Artem Bakurov, Ukraine
- Min-Seo Kang, South Korea
- Dan Bacaintan, Italy
World Latte Art Championship
Irvine Quek of Malaysia, 2018 World Latte Art Champion
The winner of the 2018 World Latte Art Championship is Irvine Quek representing Malaysia. Irvine earned the highest score in each of the three rounds of the competition and beat the second-place finisher in each round by at least 34 points. Irvine is one of the youngest World Coffee Champions at just 20 years old.
Irvine’s presentation concept incorporated different animals that he envisioned in a dream on an island. In his finals performance, he created a hornbill and a monkey for his two free pours. And for his designer latte art, he created a dolphin. Each of Irvine’s animals were created with thick, clean and vibrant milk lines, and they were each positioned in tropical island environments complete with palm trees and coconuts.
2018 World Latte Art Championship Finalists:
- Irvine Quek, Malaysia
- Michalis Karagiannis, Greece
- Liang Fan, China
- Shinsaku Fukayama, Australia
- Agnieszka Rojewska, Poland
- Wonjae Choi, South Korea
World Cup Tasters Championship
Yama Kim of Australia, 2018 World Cup Tasters Champion (photo: Jeff Hann)
The winner of the 2018 World Cup Tasters Championship is Yama Kim representing Australia. Kim correctly identified 29 of 32 total cups in the four total rounds of the competition. In the final round, Kim chose 7 of the 8 correct cups in a time of 4:38, his fastest finish of the four rounds. In addition to winning the last two Cup Tasters Championships of Australia, Kim had excellent tasting experience to prepare him the Championship: he is a Sensory Judge in competitions in Australia and assessed some of the world’s finest wines as a Masters of Wine Challenger.
The Cup Tasters Championship tests competitors’ ability to accurately and quickly distinguish the differences of specialty coffees by identifying the odd cup in a set of three coffees, with eight sets of cups in each round. It is the only World Coffee Championship without judges, as competitors choose either the objectively correct or incorrect cup in each set.
2018 Cup Tasters Championship Finalists:
- Yama Kim, Australia
- Niels Te Vaanhold, The Netherlands
- Walter Acevedo, Colombia
- Waruth Tangsuriyapaisan, Thailand
For more on coffee championships, read about the winning performance of the 2018 World Barista Champion, Agnieszka Rojewska.