Congrats to the World Barista Champion!

Congrats to the World Barista Champion!

Congratulations to Stephen Morrissey, who’s taken top honors at the WBC in Copenhagen! The news is all kinds of awesome… couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. ‘Course, it’s nothing but great news, too, for Square Mile Coffee, the much anticipated partnership between Stephen and the 2007 WBC winner, James Hoffman. Honestly, I’m going to have to make a trip ‘cross the pond just to try their coffee. Update: Jason at Texas Coffee People puts Stephen’s triumph in perspective: He trained James Hoffmann for last year’s WBC.  He trained Kyle Glanville for the USBC, which he went on to win.  He won the Irish Triple Crown of the Irish Latte Art championships, the Irish Cup-Tasting championships, and the Irish Barista Championships.  And now, in his first ever appearance in a World Barista Championship, he was crowned the World Barista Champion.  This man is unstoppable. Nice....
Barista: Is This the Death of the Espresso Blend?

Barista: Is This the Death of the Espresso Blend?

Stephen Leighton (coffee guy, blogger at Hasbean, one of the more permanent fixtures on Bloggle’s list of outbound links) has a featured article in the most recent issue of Barista magazine in which he wonders aloud, “Is this the death of the espresso blend?” In it he notes that James Hoffmann’s World Barista Championship was won with not one, but two single-origin coffees prepared as espresso. That’s a notion that not so long ago would have been unheard of — which has annoyed me for years — but which may be on the naked edge of a trend… I think those observing the WBC competition this year will have noted that blends have gradually become less complicated and often now have far fewer components than they might have contained in the past. There has been a real movement towards allowing the coffee to do the talking with signature drinks, presentation and blends becoming simpler. This has to be applauded. This is me, clapping loudly. I make no claims to be a purist — a snob, yes, but not a purist — but I’m awfully keen to see more single-origin espressos come to the fore; for their character, their unbridled flavors and aromas, and the sheer adventure of discovering what a given grand cru drip coffee can do in the small cup. I want to see more coffee origins — especially Central and South American origins — experiment with semi-washed and dry process coffees to afford the kind of character that would better complement a single-origin espresso (a stellar example being Erna Knutsen’s Santa Elena Tarrazu Miel from a few years back.)...
Congrats to the World Barista Champion

Congrats to the World Barista Champion

Congratulations to James Hoffman (whom you may know as Jim Seven (that’s his blog in the list down yonder) on capturing the top honors at the World Barista Championship in Tokyo. His performance was — in a word — artistic. Poised, relaxed — or doing a damn fine job of looking relaxed — Jim wowed the judges with his technical skills, his presentation, and a signature espresso drink that combined separately-pulled single origins from Costa Rica and Kenya (an intensely blackcurrenty Gethumbwini) with a tobacco and cream infusion, topped with a biscotti foam. (I’m thinking it’d probably be labeled illegal in the U.S.) If you’re at all wondering what the Barista Championships are all about, watch the finalist videos at ZacharyZachary and be amazed. (As a bonus the videography is quite good!) Congrats to Jim, and congrats to *all* of the national barista champions (and that means you, too, Heather...

Coffee Notes from All Over

Just the same, don’t forget the sunscreen. Researchers have found that caffeine boosts resistance against UV radiation, and skin cancers. The relationship between caffeine and cancer cells is under close scrutiny following evidence that it can increase a process called “apoptosis”, in which the body gets rid of damaged or even cancerous cells by killing them off. To really boost the cancer-resisting effect? Add exercise into the mix. Talk softly, and carry a hot cuppa joe. Psychologists at Yale altered people’s judgments of a stranger by handing them a cup of coffee: The study participants, college students, had no idea that their social instincts were being deliberately manipulated. On the way to the laboratory, they had bumped into a laboratory assistant, who was holding textbooks, a clipboard, papers and a cup of hot or iced coffee — and asked for a hand with the cup. That was all it took: The students who held a cup of iced coffee rated a hypothetical person they later read about as being much colder, less social and more selfish than did their fellow students, who had momentarily held a cup of hot java. Let the battle begin! The World Barista Championship is underway in Tokyo, Japan. Forty-nine countries are represented this year, each by its own national champion. And this round of the WBC introduces a tasty new twist — for the first time ever spectators are able to sample some of the barista’s work. (What a concept!) While you can’t taste from here, you can watch the entire event. It’s not real-time, but that’s just fine… I understand they’re all night-owls...

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