World of Coffee Dublin: three days of championships, awards, cuppings, new products, sustainability presentations, parties and, of course, a lot of coffee. Highly caffeinated and highly enthusiastic, people rushed from booth to booth, cupping stall to cupping stall.
But if you weren’t able to make it (or just want to recap it for the memories), never fear – we’ve summarised the whole event so you don’t miss out on a thing.
Rubens Gardelli, previous Italian Barista Champion and Roasting Champion, cupping coffee. Credit: Joel Smedley
There was no shortage of exhibitors, from roasters and exporters to espresso machine manufacturers and packaging providers.
The busiest area was The Village, which was jam-packed with great stalls and thirsty visitors. Roasters, exporters, and cafés were clustered together in threes, adding a sociable feel to the event – a village, indeed. Weaving your way between the people may have been a challenge, but it was worth it.
Speaking to Lem Butler, US Barista Champion, WBC finalist, and Urnex Ambassador. Credit: Joel Smedley
In contrast, the main area of the event was spacious and calm – but no less filled with great exhibitors. We visited the espresso machine stands for some first-rate lattes, participated in cuppings at stands such as IHCafé, and combined inspecting Urnex Brand’s cleaning products with chatting to the World Barista Championship competitors in their booth – Urnex sponsored 12 of them, including all 6 of the finalists and the 2016 Champion, Berg Wu.
And when the caffeine all got too much for us, Beyond the Bean were offering smoothies and Swiss Water specialty decaf that, frankly, tasted just the same as caffeinated coffee.
Decaf specialty coffee from Swiss Water. Credit: Joel Smedley
World of Coffee hosted a grand total of three World Championships, meaning there were plenty of great performances to watch. Notable takeaways from these events include the rising prominence of East and Southeast Asia, in line with the rapid development of specialty in this region.
World Barista Championship
The World Barista Champion 2016 is Berg Wu of Taiwan, who competed with a Geisha from Panama. The runners-up were Yoshikazu Iwase (Japan), Ben Put (Canada), Lem Butler (USA), Charlotte Malaval (France), and Lex Wenneker (The Netherlands).
Berg Wu, World Barista Champion and Urnex Ambassador, during his routine. Credit: Joel Smedley
Berg wasn’t the only one to opt for a Geisha – Yoshikazu, Ben, Lem, and Lex all used one in their routine. Charlotte, on the other hand, opted for a Salvadoran Red Bourbon.
There were strong performances all round, not just from the finalists but from all the competing countries. Check out our list of competitors to watch here.
Berg Wu, World Barista Champion, with his trophy. Credit: Joel Smedley
World Brewers Cup
The winner of the World Brewers Cup 2016 was Tetsu Kasuya of Japan, whose winning routine featured a natural Geisha from Ninety Plus Estate, Panama, brewed with a V60. V60s and Geishas have been the coffees of choice of many Brewers Cup Champions – in fact, only two of the past Champions used a different brewing device (Erin McCarthy and Keith O’Sullivan, a Kalita and a Chemex respectively).
Tetsu Kasuya, World Brewers Cup Champion. Credit: Dennis Hicks for World Coffee Events
The runners-up were Mikaela Wallgren (Finland), Chad Wang (Taiwan), Benny Wong (Hong Kong), Todd Goldsworthy (USA), and Odd-Steinar Tøllefsen (Norway).
Want to hear more about the World Brewers Cup? Read our analysis of up-and-coming Brewers Cup competitors.
Rob Kerkhoff of Keen Coffee, The Netherlands, competing with a Phoenix 70. Credit: Joel Smedley
World AeroPress Championship
The World AeroPress Champion 2016 is Filip Kucharczyk of Poland, who used the inverted method for his Yellow Bourbon Colombian coffee. Poland’s a recent addition to the specialty coffee scene, but there’s no lack of enthusiasm – we’re talking about a country with approximately 10 roasteries, but over 100 competitors in the National AeroPress Champion.
The runners-up were Jerome Dittmar of France and Hugo Sousa Rocco of Brazil. Jerome and Hugo both used the same coffee as Filip, but opted for the normal AeroPress position.
SCAE Excellence Awards
This year six individuals were recognised for their contribution to the specialty coffee world – an increase of one on previous years. Here are the award winners:
Young Entrepreneur: Henry Wilson, CEO & Founder of Perfect Daily Grind
Passionate Educator: Chiara Bergonzi, an independent trainer
Innovation: Chris Southern of Clockwork Espresso for his PUSH Tamper
Working Towards Sustainability: Ben Weiner of Gold Mountain Coffee
Ambassador: Tony Overbeak of Urnex Brands
Lifetime Achievement: Eddie Bieker of Sandalj
The award winners with their trophies. Credit: Joel Smedley
We were proud and honoured for Henry Wilson to receive the Young Entrepreneur Award. The SCAE kindly said, “Perfect Daily Grind created a new platform for information exchange in the coffee community. The format is innovative and collaborative, and stimulates the participation of many stakeholders worldwide.”
We were also able to pull Chris Southern and Ben Weiner aside for a quick interview. “It means the world to us that the international specialty coffee community recognises our work on economic and environmental sustainability,” said Ben. “None of this would be possible without the incredibly hard work that producers do to bring us these wonderful, high-cupping coffees.”
As for Chris, he told us, “I feel amazing. It’s an absolute honour. It’s a very prestigious award so this is humbling. When I started to create the PUSH tamper, I never imagined this could happen. I’m constantly surprised and pleased by the support from the whole coffee industry.”
SCAE Excellence Awards. Credit: Joel Smedley
New Product of the Show Awards
Seven products were recognised in seven different categories.
Best New Professional Espresso Machine: Slayer Steam (with special mention to the Faema E71)
Best New Professional Small Equipment: La Culture del Caffe’s Milk Mate, a system for portioning out milk
Best New Food/Non-Coffee Beverage: Hazel Mountain Cacao Tea
Best New Roasters Product: Silon ZR-7 from Coffee-Tech Engineering
Best New Consumer Product: The Cafflano Kompact, an on-the-move brewing device that can also make cold brew (see our previous write-up of it here)
Best New IT & Technology Innovation: OpenCup from Aristan Coffee Group Ltd.
Best New Packaging: Green Capsule Top Lid from Ahlstrom
As always, innovation, quality, and user-friendliness were valued. We can also see a focus on eco-friendly products: Milk Mate and Green Capsule Top Lid were commended by the judges for their environmentally friendly nature, while OpenCup markets itself as a paper-saving tool (among other things).
Which brings us on to…
The Sustainability Forum
The sustainability forum was a new but welcome addition to SCAE World of Coffee events – in fact, so many people wished to participate that they had to decrease everyone’s presentation time to ten minutes.
James Humpoletz of SCAE spoke to us about the motivation behind the Sustainability Forum. “It’s clear SCAE don’t have all the answers,” he said. “Instead we wanted to get our members – they’re the creative people – to share ideas about how to be sustainable. SCAE are facilitators; we want to bring together the people with ideas that will inspire others.”
Collaboration is important to SCAE; a smile spreads across James’ face as he speaks about the potential that can be achieved when its members work together.
James Humpoletz of SCAE. Credit: Joel Smedley
Yet he’s also very aware of the challenges of working towards sustainability. “It really is difficult to go from words to actions,” he tells me. “We really emphasised that presenters had to say something new, something that wasn’t being said before.”
“We all talk about sustainability. For some, it may be a buzzword, a form of PR – but behind the word, there’s a lot of intricate work that is being done throughout the community.”
With topics such as gender equity in Africa, innovations to prevent the possible extinction of Arabica, and The 20/20 Project, it’s clear that the Sustainability Forum was tackling difficult topics – and looking for results-orientated answers.
James Humpoletz discusses the paths towards sustainability. Credit: Joel Smedley
After all those intense competitions and discussions, the parties were the perfect opportunity to relax. And there were a lot of parties.
That being said, it wasn’t just drinking and dancing. As James said, “The real work gets done at the bar – it’s clichéd but true.”
The official SCAE party in the six-story Guinness storehouse – charmingly shaped like a pint of Guinness, complete with a 360-degree view from the “head” – was the main party to go to. In fact, James informed me that it had the best ever attendance of SCAE parties, beating even the beach party in Rimini (2014) and the theme park in Gothenburg (2015).
However, it wasn’t the only option for World of Coffee attendees: from the AeroPress party to La Marzocco’s, and Belco’s at The Cloud Picker to Nuova Simonelli’s, there were plenty of choices for those looking to experience Dublin at night.
The view from the top of the Guinness Storehouse. Credit: Antony Stanley via Flickr
World Championships, award-winning equipment, fabulous parties, discussions about the future of coffee… World of Coffee Dublin was a spectacular event.
Yet, as always, it’s the coffee community who really made it so wonderful. It’s the volunteers, without whom the event wouldn’t happen. It’s the competitor brands who are friends. And it’s everyone who connected over their love of specialty coffee.
As Joyce Klassen of Baratza told us, “It’s not how many products we sell. It’s the conversations we have, it’s who we talk to.”
James Humpoletz echoed a similar sentiment. “It’s the people. It sounds clichéd, but it’s true. The energy, the smiles, it’s insatiable. It’s a feeling that never gets old.”
The volunteers of World of Coffee Dublin. Credit: Joel Smedley
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