Tuesday, 29 June 2010

World Barista Championships in London

Last week London was abuzz with activity surrounding the World Barista Championships. The national champions of 54 countries came to London to compete for the title of World Barista Champion. Each competitor had 15 minutes to prepare four espressos, four cappucinos, and four espresso-based signature drinks of their own design. And they must do this all whilst talking passionately about the coffee they're using. This year's World Champion is Mike Phillips from the USA. Mike works for Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago and he is the first World Champion to come from the United States.


For all my WBC photographs click through here.


This year I volunteered to be a 'barista buddy'. My role was to help a competitor find equipment, ingredients and to provide local knowledge. I was the buddy to Honduran Champion Anna Lucia Hawitt and Argentina's Gustavo Castro. Ana Lucia, in the big image above, placed in the top 12 during the preliminary rounds and made it through to the semi-finals. You can watch her semi-final presentation here.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Chris Miller: The guy who cooks the coffee


In this episode first we hear from La Colombe Torrefaction co-founder Todd Carmichael as he explains why he views coffee as a culinary experience and that he considers his lead roaster, Chris Miller, to be the head chef or 'the guy who cooks the coffee'. Then Chris shows me around their Philadelphia plant where millions of pounds of beans are roasted every year. We also hear co-founder Jean-Philippe Iberti as he tells me about their 15 kilo Vittoria roaster which they first started using back in 1993 when they were only producing 12 kilos of coffee a week.
(Duration 10:24)

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Crescent Moon: Bringing Great Coffee to Rural South Jersey

It has been over a year since I spent an afternoon with Sharon and Ron Vacarello and a few of their baristi at Crescent Moon Coffee and Tea, when I recorded this episode of the starbarista podcast. They do a fantastic job runnning an independent coffee shop and roastery in rural South Jersey in the USA. Have a listen as they tell us how they decided to roast beans themselves in order to ensure the highest quality, that local farmers stop in for espressos, and how they have taught young people the skills to go on and work for highly regarded coffee companies like Intelligentsia and Stumptown.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Taste of Canada at Square Mile


Last night the coffee community of London gathered at the Square Mile Roastery in Bethnal Green to taste four espressos from Canada. The conviviality and caffeine combined to push the colours up a notch as we downed espresso after espresso after espresso. Many thanks to James, Annette and everyone else who made Taste of Canada possible.
All the images can be found via this link.

090624TasteCanadax52 090624TasteCanadax48

Monday, 1 June 2009

Gwilym is the World Barista Champion

Gwilym Davies - the current UK Barista Champion - is now the World Barista Champion. A few months ago Gwilym travelled to Atlanta, Georgia to compete with approximately 50 baristas from around the world for the title. Congratulations, Gwilym!
(I am just posting this now because I have been too busy drinking great coffee from this company:)

Gwilym Davies, United Kingdom - 2009 WBC Finals

Gwillym Davies, WBC champion talks a little about his drink preparation

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Gwilym Davies 2009 UK Barista Champion

Congratulations to Gwilym Davies who has just been crowned the 2009 UK Barista Champion. I've just thrown this post up for people who want to know more about this great barista. (click here for full post with embedded media.)

Gwilym works outdoor coffee carts at two busy London markets. He uses coffee from East London's Square Mile Roasters.

Gwilym's winning espresso was a 50/50 blend made up of Finca San Jose Pulped Natural Red CatuaĆ­ from Erwin Mierisch and family in Nicaragua, and an El Molino de Santa Rita Washed Orange Bourbon from Jose Antonio Salaverria’s farm in El Salvador.

During the the final Gwilym's espresso and signature drink attained the highest scores. The idea behind his signature drink was to enhance flavours that were already in the espresso he was working with. He created an infusion of butter, cinamon, orange peel, muscovado syrup, and dark chocolate that he added to the espresso.

Here is Gwilym's semi-final performance:

Here's Gwilym's championship-winning final performance:

Here are all the videos from the UKBC Finals.

Here is a video of the results and an interview with Gwilym:

Here's a podcast about Gwilym.

(Note: At the time of recording Gwilym was using beans from a different London roastery.)

Click here to download this podcast.

Here are some photos of Gwilym at work on Whitecross Market

Below is a map showing the locations of Gwilym's coffee carts.

View Larger Map

Here's Gwilym on Google Street View:

View Larger Map

Articles about Gwilym in the media:
Gwilym is the odds on favourite to win WBC from Newsdesk.
It's the third wave of coffee in the Guardian on 16 March 2009
Evening Standard 10 March 2009
All hail Gwilym, the coffee king! from the Islington Gazette 18 March 2009
Hospitality Magazine 11 March 2009
CatererSearch 13 MArch 2009

Blog posts about the man:
Square Mile Coffee Blog
Gwilym Davies Barista Eccezionali from Belaphon
Twitchy interview with Gwilym

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Makin' biscotti with Gilda

starbarista catches up with Gilda Doganiero of Gilda's Biscotti. She has been dedicated to the art of baking traditional biscotti for the last 13 years since leaving her job as a pastry chef at Philadelphia's Four Seasons Hotel. In this podcast Gilda tells us about the origins of this noble Italian cookie as well as the story of how she started her company. (In the photo to the left Gilda is holding a tray of her lemon fig biscotti.) I would love to hear what you think of this podcast - so please leave your comments below.