Budapest, Hungary: The 2017 World of Coffee Expo has come to a close after 3 full days of caffeinated bedlam, bringing with it an august new bumpercrop of global coffee champions. Each winner takes home glory and promotional prizes as part of the World Coffee Events stable of competitions, including the World Brewers Cup, World Cup Tasters Championship, World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship, and World Latte Art Championship.
Four new champs, anointed from a field of hundreds. Let's meet them, shall we? So that we may bask in their glory, and let the triumph of these moments ring from the Danube to all corners of the earth.
Complete coverage is available at SprudgeLive.com, the worldwide leader in coffee sports.
Sprudge Media Network’s coverage of the 2017 World Coffee Championships at World of Coffee Budapest is made possible by support from Acaia, Aerobie, Baratza, Cafe Imports, Pacific Foods, and Swiss Water Decaf. All of our 2017 competition coverage worldwide is underwritten with support from Urnex Brands and Nuova Simonelli.
World Brewers Cup: Chad Wang, Jascaffe China, Taiwan
Chad Wang of China's Jascaffe has won the 2017 World Brewers Cup championship!
This is Wang’s second appearance on the World Brewers Cup stage and his first win, moving up two positions from his third place finish last year in Dublin.
“Today I wish to connect the coffee, the barista, and the guest,” Wang explained to the judges during his finals presentation. That coffee–a natural-processed Geisha from Ninety Plus Geisha Estates in Volcán, Panama–was cup number 227 out of a total 300 different coffees Wang tasted during an origin trip last month to select his competition coffee. Lucky number 227 consisted solely of purple Geisha cherries picked earlier this year in January and roasted here in Budapest not but three days ago.
For his winning routine, Wang opted to brew with a cold ceramic Hario V60, noting that the thick ceramic promoted “temperature stability” and the non-warmed brewer “enhances the intensity of [his] coffee.” Using 15 grams of coffee to 250ml of 92°C water (197.6°F)–a 16.667:1 ratio–the Taiwanese champion began with a 30 second bloom before pouring the remaining water into the center of his V60s for a two-minute total brew time. The end result was a total of 220ml coffee for each of the judges.
In the cup, Wang’s Panama Geisha treated judges to aromas of peach, melon, and butterscotch, and flavors of melon, white peach, orange blossom, and caramel with a banana liqueur and kiwi finish. A pineapple acidity and honey-like sweetness were prominent features in his world dominating brew.
Wang’s performance was a masterclass in precision. No energy was wasted throughout the entire nine minutes and 59 seconds of his routine, every movement done with effortless intentionality. Watching his performance, it was clear that we were witnessing a master of his craft in his element. It was evident last year when Wang took the bronze that he would be a favorite, should he make it to the World stage in 2017. But he’s a favorite no more. Chad Wang of Taiwan in the 2017 World Brewers Cup champion.
World Cup Tasters Championship: Lok Chan, Craft Coffee Roasters, Hong Kong
Lok Chan of Craft Coffee Roaster in Hong Kong is your new 2017 World Cup Tasters champion!
Cup Tasters in unlike any other coffee championship. There are no routines, no judges, nothing prepared. The tasters come equipped simply with their spoons and their palates. Throughout the course of the four elimination rounds, cup tasters are presented with eight sets of three cups of coffee and must decipher which of the three is unlike the others. The differences from cup to cup are minute, indistinguishable to even the most refined palates in the coffee world. But not to Lok Chan.
His first appearance at the World Cup Tasters Championship, Chan was nearly perfect throughout the entirety of the event, going a perfect eight for eight in three of the four rounds; he went a paltry (by his standards) seven for eight in the Quarterfinal round. But it was enough to get him to the Semis, and then again to the Finals.
In the last round, Chan was the second fastest in recognizing odd cup out, only slower than the United Kingdom’s Freda Yun, who correctly distinguished seven of eight. This allowed Chan to eke by Satsuki Amano of Japan, the only other competitor to go a perfect eight for eight in the Final round, but doing so just a hair behind Chan.
And Chan knew it. When the eighth cups for himself and Amano were raised at the same time, the underside of both cups shined with the metallic stars symbolizing the correct pick, and Chan immediately raised his fists skyward in victory. All that was left was the official announcement, and it confirmed what we all knew: Lok Chan of Hong Kong is the 2017 World Cup Tasters Champion.
World Latte Art Championship: Arnon Thitiprasert, Rist8o, Thailand
Arnon Thitiprasert of Ristr8to in Chiang Mai, Thailand is your 2017 World Latte Art Champion!
Thitiprasert represented Thailand in the competition, out-pouring and out-etching forty other national champions. The bar was set so high at this event, by the end of all six finalists, not one person in the crowd could say for certain who would be crowned champion.
Thitiprasert took judges on a trip through “the wood under the full moonlight”, free-pouring a “rabbit jumping on a tree” and a “deer looking back”, and carefully etched a “walking fox”. Photographers were allowed to approach the latte art once the judges had left the stage and Sprudge Live was able to secure these up-close and personal photos of the latte (nerd note: the bubbles on the edges of some are due to the lattes being poured ~five minutes before these shots were taken and not representative of the lattes as they were judged).
The Chang Mai-based latte artist celebrated the win after the announcements were called and well-wishers showered the champion in champagne (and prizes, so many prizes). The atmosphere was electric as what seemed like hundreds of people lined up to take photos, selfies, and FaceTime with friends back home. The World Latte Art Championship is the biggest and highest honor in the field of creative coffee arts, and Arnon Thitiprasert is truly a master in the craft.
World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship: Martin Hudak, American Bar at the Savoy Hotel, Slovakia
The 2017 Coffee In Good Spirits Champion is Martin Hudak, of London’s American Bar at the Savoy Hotel. Hudak expertly took judges through an epic and at times emotional journey at the SCA World of Coffee in Budapest, powered by the music of Hans Zimmer.
The Slovakian-native and London-based champion took second place at World Coffee In Good Spirits last year. Sprudge had an opportunity to connect with Martin Hudak at the Dalla Corte Espresso Machine’s annual DC Campus events, and featured a signature cocktail of Hudak’s in 2014.
With Zimmer providing a strong, theatrical backbone, Hudak took judges on a personal journey of discovery, inspired by Mother Nature. “Let me send my message in a liquid form,” said Hudak, who then built an Irish Coffee with the milk of a single jersey cow (“her protein content was higher than any other cow on the farm”) and created a signature cocktail, both using Los Lajones Estate Geisha (Lot #5) from Panama.
To tie the Mother Nature theme together, the signature cocktail was served in a gorgeous terrarium. Hudak’s passionate delivery, coupled with the music of Planet Earth, ensured not a single audience member was left without goosebumps.
Get goosebumps by watching the whole presentation here.
THANK YOU again to our 2017 World of Coffee coverage sponsors Acaia, Aerobie, Baratza, Cafe Imports, Pacific Foods, and Swiss Water Decaf. All of our 2017 competition coverage worldwide is underwritten with support from Urnex Brands and Nuova Simonelli.
Sprudge Media Network coverage live from Budapest by Charlie Burt, Karina Hof, Zac Cadwalader, Michelle Johnson, and Zachary Carlsen.