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I finally feel like it’s time to revive the blog and resume writing. As you might be able to tell, I’m really inspired by recent happenings in my coffee world – my close friend Matt Winton got the gold in Swedish barista championship (I learned a lot from him, and I’m still learning) and at the Swiss championships Emi Fukahori won the gold in Brewer’s cup and Mathieu Thieis won the gold in the Barista category. What makes these achievements feel even bigger is that the three of them work in the same spot – the specialty coffee shop Mame in Zurich. I’m absolutely stoked for them, amazing achievements. Read More

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The ultimate collision of coffee expertise and confidence on Swiss territory will be held once again on the 6th to 8th of February 2015 in St Gallen at the Olma Ferienmesse (Splügenstrasse 12, 9008 St. Gallen). Exciting, exciting!

Again there will be the four disciplines – Barista, Brewers Cup, Latte Art and Cup Tasting, for the moment though it seems there won’t be  Coffee in Good Spirits Championship. As for the Aeropress Championship I believe it’s going to be separately organised after February. The entry fee for the Swiss Coffee Championship is 100chf, for member of the SCAE – 50chf. The Barista Champion will go to the World Barista Championship in Seattle, USA from 9th to 12th of April 2015, the winners from the other categories will go to Gothenburg, Sweden from 16th to 18th of June 2015 for the Nordic World of Coffee where they will compete in the World Championships.

 

I remember last year watching the videos from the Swiss Coffee Championships 2013. I was enthusiastically explaining to Karla and Snehaa and making them watch with me. I clearly remember when we were watching Nina Rimpl’s routine. She did extremely well in spite of all the complications during her stage time and I was stunned at how well she held her presentation till the very end.

 Nina’s setting for the competition


One year later, with more than 200 points difference from her previous result, she’s the new Swiss Barista Champion. That’s the outcome of a lot of hard work, dedication and passion. She’s got the gold, but also the big responsibility of representing Switzerland at the World Championships in Rimini this summer. A very important and complicated task involving also other people helping her with planning, sponsoring, or just supporting her mentally. Hopefully, there are even more people to be involved, as this is a big opportunity for promoting a higher quality coffee in Switzerland. Rising the overall standards of the coffee beverages served in the country and simply showing people what good coffee is, because it’s funny how many people drink coffee every day and don’t know anything about it. This is also a part of Nina’s mission as a barista champion – to raise the awareness for higher quality coffee, that’s why everything around her preparation for the World Championship will be made public. Every Tuesday after 5pm at Henauer Kaffee, where she works and practices, will be open for visitors who would have the opportunity to watch her routine. Of course coffee professionals will visit too and give their feedback, but I want to point out that everyone can participate in this process, everyone would be asked for feedback. The dialogue will officially start next Tuesday, 25th of March, 5pm  at Henauer Kaffee. Everyone is welcome! I’m going to follow Nina’s journey , you can do it too! Start by liking Nina’s facebook page here.

This post full of photos is another evidence that coffee people are extremely cool. No, actually these are just some nice pictures I’m eager to share with you. Enjoy! 

Milo Kamil doing his magic
Daniel Sanchez in front of the judges
Nina Rimpl’s beautiful setting
Felix Hohlmann
Katinka, Fabio and Milo
Katinka, me and Nina

Raymond Place preparing his coffee
Henauer team
Michal Otte

Daniel Fischer
Fabio Kaiser

Day 2

The day began with me almost missing the train, but thank God I was there on time! First there were the Latte Art finals –  every competitor has to present the judges photos of his/her designs and in 8 minutes to pour them – two identical espressi macchiato and two pairs of identical lattes. André Gabriel won the first place with 493.5 points. He was the only one using double shots of espresso, which earned him more points for contrast and in spite of that he finished on time! Now he’s going to the World Latte Art Championship in Melbourne, Australia! Milo Kamil is second with 467.5 points. Last year – third, this year – second, what about next year? We’ll see, I hope he’ll compete again. And Philippe Gobat from Neuchâtel on third place with 414 points! Congratulations! 
Then the Barista finals – we saw some fantastic shows, all competitors did amazing! Four espressi, four cappuccini and four signature drinks, which again should be espresso based. Nina Rimpl is the new Barista Champion of Switzerland with 604 points! She also got the gold for best espresso and best signature drink, which by the way is damn interesting – with elderflower and pomegranate. On second place is Michel Aeschbacher with 595.5 points and the medal for best cappuccino, and Janine Landolt third with 573 points! Nina will be representing Switzerland at the World Barista Championship in Rimini, Italy this year in June. I’ll be there and I will definitely support her!
I’m impressed by the baristas’ creativity, you really cannot imagine all the ideas they come up with for their signature drinks. At first I thought signature drinks were unnecessary for the competition, but now that I have seen what is it all about, I think there are some very interesting combinations and it’s a shame that they seem to be neglected. What happens with all those recipes after the competition? Not much I guess…that’s why  I’m on a quest now, I’m trying to collect and maybe publish them.
Nina Rimpl right before her winning performance

Day 3

Brewers Cup finals! Benjamin Hohlmann is the new Brewer Champion with 85.42 points tightly followed with 81.90 points by his brother Felix Hohlmann! So cool, right? Third place went to last year’s  Swiss Brewer Champion – Raymond Place with 78.51 points! These guys know their coffee very very well. And I’m amazed at how good they are at discerning all the aromas and flavors in the cup. Actually, most of the competitors at the Championships were with some mad skills in tasting. Hopefully, I’ll learn to do that too.
Felix Hohlmann and his fancy apron
And last but not least was the Cup Tasting Competition on which Mathias Bühler got the gold followed by     Gonzalo Rosales de los Reyes second and Benjamin Hohlmann third place. Actually, Benjamin Hohlmann took part in every discipline of the Championships except Latte Art. He’s a real coffee geek, you should have seen his performances! Next time I go to Basel I’ll definitely have a chat with him.

Benjamin Hohlmann, Brewers Cup Finals
The whole weekend was crazy! I enjoyed every minute of it even though it was totally exhausting. I’ve had the chance have a chat with many incredible people all sharing the same passion for coffee. It’s funny though, because there were some individuals, who in my head are still with a celebrity status, and seeing them up close was very exciting, let alone having conversations with them. It was amazing. And not only that, but I was a part from all this, I wasn’t just a visitor. And for one thing I’m sure – I’ll also be competing one day.

The first day of the Swiss Coffee Championships is over! I’m really thankful to Milo Kamil and Phillip Henauer, it’s absolutely their fault I’m a part of the staff for the event, thank you! They gave me the amazing opportunity to help for the smooth running of the competition, but also to get to meet the best baristi in Switzerland, who obviously have the guts to compete.

 I cannot put in words all the feelings and emotions I experienced today. It was exciting and exhausting! There was the Latte Art qualification round, (for which I, as a volunteer, had to take photos of the competitors’ designer lattes) and the qualification for Barista category. The finals for these two are tomorrow with the qualification round for Brewers Cup.

The finalists in Latte Art are Celine Huber, Milo Kamil, Tito Huber, André Gabriel and Pillip Gobat. They showed their absolutely amazing latte designs (sorry I don’t have any good pictures to upload) – very creative and complicated, with a lot of etching. But this was easy compared to what’s waiting for them tomorrow, and that is two identical espressi macchiato and two pairs of identical lattes and that only for eight minutes! No shaky hands tomorrow please!

The finalists in Barista category are Michel Aeschbacher, Nina Rimpl, Janine Landolt, Benjamin Hohlman, Michal Otte and Daniel Sanchez. If tomorrow the Latte Art category is tough, than the difficulty of this one is going to be insane. No kidding! All of these people deserve the first place! But I guess now everything comes to the type and number of mistakes you make on stage, the quality of the coffee is high anyway. I hope there won’t be any nervous breakdowns, because a lot of pressure.

More to come tomorrow. It’s going to be a long day, so I’ll try to sleep a bit.

p.s. This is a special shout out to a favorite of mine – Katinka Tappe, who didn’t manage to get to the Barista finals – Katinka, you did a marvelous job, I don’t know if you’re competing next year, but if you don’t – I’ll make you!