This is the third and final in a series about our Urnex Ambassadors. Last week, we shared some common experiences and influences of Julieta Vazquez (Mexico) Yoshi Iwase (Japan), Ben Put (Canada) and Mat Theis (Switzerland). Four more ambassadors, Berg Wu (Taiwan), Steve Moloney (Sweden), Charlotte Malaval (France), and Lemuel Butler (USA), tell us some of their thoughts on coffee, food and competing as professional baristas.
Berg and Steve love coffee… and cooking
Berg’s passion for coffee began early. He started his own coffee business with his wife when they were students ten years ago. Berg has come a long way since then, earning a Taiwanese national barista champion title for three consecutive years.
Steve became obsessed with coffee after he moved to Sweden from Australia and landed a job in a little café. As he started to learn the Swedish language, he met the Swedish Barista Champion at a training course. After several café jobs and a lot of training and practice, he came in third place at the 2015 Swedish Barista Championship and then took first place in 2016.
Berg and Steve have a common interest besides coffee, they both love to cook. For Berg, his specialty is baking. If he wasn’t a barista, he says he would be a patisserie. For Steve, it’s more hearty fare. “I really like to cook so recently I've been spending a fair bit of time learning how to sharpen knives and getting intimate with my pasta machine.”
Charlotte and Lem want people to have an open mind about coffee
Charlotte and Lem have competed with the best baristas in the world and are not only technically skilled but have a great knowledge of all things coffee.
Charlotte, who is from Ditta Artigianale in France, placed third in the 2014 French National Barista Championship and took first place in 2015 and 2016. She is an authorized trainer in barista skills for the Specialty Coffee Association Europe (SCAE). In short, she knows her stuff. When we asked Charlotte what is one piece of knowledge she would share with non-baristas, she told us to remember that “…coffee is an infinite diversity of flavors. Many people don’t understand that coffee is not just vanilla, or caramel; there are many flavors infused into every cup of coffee. People need to open their minds to be able to taste them all.”
Lem, who hails from Durham, North Carolina, took a job as a barista because he’s a morning person and the position was for an early morning opening shift. It didn’t take long before his job turned into his passion. In 2016, Lem won the United States Barista Championship and like Charlotte, he also appreciates the varieties and complexities of coffee; “…have an open mind to new coffees. There are so many coffee producers in the world just waiting for us to taste their hard work. The key to drinking a successful cup of coffee is to fully immerse yourself into that cup.”
With these impressive backgrounds and accomplishments, Berg, Steve, Charlotte and Lem will represent their countries at the 2016 World Barista Championship in Dublin, Ireland, June 22-25. We can’t wait to see all of the ambassadors in a few weeks in Dublin when we finally get to see all of their hard work and preparation pay off.