The 2014 World Cup Tasters Champion is Pang-Yu Liu (劉邦禹) of Taiwan! Mr. Liu competed here at the World Cup Tasters Championship as an independent, with training by Lulu Wang of Just Go Coffee. He brings global bragging rights home to Taiwan, a nation of coffee lovers basking in the glow of their first-ever international coffee championship win. Let's meet the young man behind the victory.
A confirmed Taiwan “local boy”, Pang-Yu Liu is a 25-year-old son of a professional coffee cupper. He's worked in the coffee business for just one year, and competed at the World Cup Tasters Championship as an independent. Speaking through a translator, Mr. Liu told Sprudge, “I am just a newbie, but I want to thank my family, my team, my coach, my translator, my brother, and all my friends in Taiwan!” He wins pride, prestige, a bevy of prizes, and an origin trip to Panama courtesy of World Cup Tasters Championship sponsors Toby's Estate.
Mr. Liu missed just 2 out of 8 possible tasting rounds at the World Cup Tasters Championship finals; good enough to earn him a global championship, but apparently not good enough for the exacting standards of Mr. Liu. “I thought I would get them all,” the champ told us. “The biggest enemy is myself. And every competitor here is very competitive.”
Pang-Yu Liu becomes not only the first Taiwanese World Cup Tasters Champion, but the first ever from an Asian country. He's only the second competitor to win from outside of Europe, which has dominated the World Cup Tasters Championship since its inception in 2004 (Hector Gonzalez of Guatemala was the first non-European to win, in 2010). This is surely a trend on the rise, as the Cup Tasters Championship format grows in popularity around the world, especially in Asia, where more than 40 competitors entered the 2014 national championships in Taiwan alone.
But for now, congratulations are in order to Pang-Yu Liu, your new 2014 World Cup Tasters Champion, a self-proclaimed “newbie” and the pride of Taiwan!
Photos by Eileen P. Kenny for Sprudge.com.
Nicholas Cho contributed to this reporting.