Misako, Kurasu's barista and head roaster at our Kyoto branch, flew to Amsterdam to attend World of Coffee (WOC) and World Barista Championship (WBC) 2018! A spectacular venue full of gorgeous booths, roasters and star brewers she had always dreamt of meeting- Misako tells you all about her exciting trip!
World of coffee / World barista championship 2018 in Amsterdam
Amsterdam- it is a city surrounded by canals with a history that goes back to the Middle Ages, where time seems to pass at a gentle rate. Stitching myself through a lively city center busy with cycling commuters, I arrived at RAI AMSTERDAM, the venue for the events.
The event took place over the course of 3 days: coffee experts gathered together coming not only from Europe but from all over the world, and for me as a roaster, it was just like a dream. I have been reading their books, blogs and watching their YouTube tutorials every day to learn from them, and they were right in front of my eyes! (Here, I would like to express my gratitude for their generous act of sharing such wonderful tips and skills they have established through their life and careers.)
This year, WOC hosted more than 200 booths in total (I attended all day every day, and still I couldn’t see them all), it was divided into sections such as Roasters Village, Brew Bar & Espresso Bar, Sustainability Forum Lecture, Cupping Room etc.
The setup of every booth was breathtaking- there were some booths so big that I couldn’t believe that they had been made for only these 3 days. The venue was gorgeous with decorations and details; merely standing there was enough to make my heart skip.
Another memorable thing was that I encountered public cuppings everywhere- numerous roasters and farmers had a booth; at one booth visitors could join the cupping with farmers and local roasters and then if they liked the coffee, they could place an order. Personally, I really liked a coffee I tried from Yemen served by Marco, a brewing machine manufacturer. Their baristas brewed with many different types of gear just to enjoy the comparison, and the coffee itself was brilliant- it had a kick of spiciness with passionfruit-like sweetness and clean acidity.
The World Barista Championship was also happening at the same venue, which made this place like heaven on earth. As many of you may already know, this year’s winner is the first female world champion in history, Ms. Agnieszka Rojewska from Poland. Unlike most of the competitors who served espresso first, cappuccino then signature beverage, she did it just like she always would do for a first-time customer. She served cappuccino first, then recommended something unique (signature drink), then espresso. Her presentation was based on her solid experience established through her career and delivered with strength and charm.
Japan’s representative, Mr. Ishitani’s presentation was absolutely wonderful too (also it was so good to see many fans from Japan were there to support him.) He used light-brown miso and passion fruits for his signature drink to make a superbly eccentric cup that wowed everyone- I can’t wait for it to be available in Japan.
While every single competitor delivered a great presentation, it was super thrilling to see the finalists brushing up their techniques right up until the final minutes throughout the championship.
Every night, there was a party hosted by La Marzocco and Victoria Arduino etc., and I just can’t forget how the coffee enthusiasts from all over the world, champions, competitors and visitors alike were dancing through the last night to celebrate the great success of the event. It was truly a wonderful moment to highlight my dream visit to Amsterdam.