Agnieska Rojewska wins the World Barista Championship with Project Origin coffee

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Agnieska Rojewska is the 2018 World Barista Champion, winning the title with experimental coffee sourced by Project Origin.

The announcement came from Amsterdam around 1200 AEST, shortly after the last competitor of the finals of the World Barista Championships.

Agnieska, a World Latte Art finalist and winner of multiple national and international coffee competitions used a coffee from a ‘CM Selections’  lot, an experimental series of carbonic maceration-processed coffees. Her coffee was part of the Diamond category of CM Selections coffees, which focuses on delicate and elegant carbonic maceration coffees.

Project Origin green bean buyer, Yanina Ferrerya was part of the team that worked with Agnieska on sourcing and working with this coffee, saying that the relationship with the first female World Barista Champion began

“During our most recent trip in Ethiopia, Saša [Šestić] told me that he wanted to focus more on giving back,” Yanina said.

“Agnieska first approached us last year to discuss coffee for the Polish Brewers Cup. At the same time, our team was talking about sponsoring a competitor, someone who was dedicated but maybe didn’t have all the resources some experienced competitors may have.”

Yanina said the idea of sponsoring competitors for world competitions was well-considered, with the aims including diversity and finding great ambassadors for specialty coffee.

“We wanted to make sure we sponsored both a male and female competitor – we were already familiar with Agnieska and her passion, so she was a natural choice for us.”

“We spoke to her directly after her win at the Polish Barista Championship and were so impressed with her humility and attitude straight after the competition.”

As for choosing the championship-winning coffee, it was both a matter of finding suitable coffees and allowing Agnieska to find one that spoke to her for the world stage.

“We wanted to make sure that we could offer coffee fit for the world stage, but we also wanted her to be able to make her own choice,” Yanina said.

“Of course, we needed to offer coffees that were fresh and would taste great – after looking at coffees from Panama and Ethiopia, she chose one of the experimental CM Selections lots we had developed with Ayana and Meseret in Mesina, Ethiopia.”

The CM Selections coffees are processed using the carbonic maceration processing method, which was first introduced to the coffee competition scene by Project Origin founder, Saša Šestić in 2015, the same year he won the World Barista Championship.

“The washing station this coffee was processed at is new, so this is the first harvest they have completed there,” said Yanina.

“Saša visited the [ZB] washing station in December and helped the team there set up some experimental processing methods with the CM techniques … almost instantly, we were very impressed with the results.”

Yanina’s involvement extends beyond her work as a green bean buyer, advocating heavily for more representation for women in the coffee industry.

“There is a quote I read a few months ago that really struck me: The more you see woman, the more woman you see,” she said.

“I don’t think the industry is evenly distributed at the moment in terms of representation in coffee – we shouldn’t be spending time blaming anyone for this, but it is good that we recognise it and look for ways to change it.”

“One of the things I realised is that women should be helping each other more. With women especially, there is usually a degree of self doubt; so it is more important than ever that we offer support to women in the coffee industry, whether it be on the farm level or in competitions.”

The CM Selections coffee used by Agnieska was processed at the ZB washing station in Mesina, in the Guji region of Ethiopia.

“It is incredible to not only have the first female World Barista Champion, but that this coffee came from a washing station operated by a female coffee producer, Meseret,” said Yanina.

“She is not only focused on producing excellent quality coffee, but is driven to work to improve community standards and to use coffee as a means to do so.”

So now that this coffee has been used by Agnieska to win coffee’s most coveted title, it might seem that it is out of reach. Well, that might not be the case.

“The idea of the CM Selections coffees was never to make a rare or expensive coffee – quite the opposite,” said Yanina.

“They’ve been created with the intention of being able to share competition-level with customers on an everyday basis. At the same time, we are dedicated to making sure that the producers receive fair prices and recognition for their incredible work.”

Congratulations to Agnieska on the fantastic win, which is definitely well-earned! A special mention to New Zealand Barista Champion, John Gordon who won 6th place in the World Barista Championship finals. We are so proud of both of you!

Learn more about the CM Selections coffees, or get in touch with us if you have further questions.

Photo: Jeff Hann


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