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Project Origin at the World Barista Championships

The 2018 World Barista Championship is well under way, hosted by the World of Coffee expo in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

National barista champions from more than 50 countries have gathered in Amsterdam for the competition, which takes place over three days. The preliminary rounds are now over and the semi-finalists were announced early this morning, with several competitors advancing to the next stage using Project Origin-sourced coffee.


Currently ranked in second place is Polish Barista Champion, Agnieska Rojewska. Using a Project Origin CM Selections (Diamond) lot from Ethiopia, Agnieska advances to the semi-finals for the first time.

In addition to being a semi-finalist in the world’s largest barista competition, Agnieska is a 4-time national Latte Art Champion (placing 3rd in the 2017 World Latte Art Championships), 3-time national Barista Champion, winner of the London Coffee Masters and a runner-up for the Polish Brewers Cup Championship.


Also advancing to the semi-finals is the Barista Champion of New Zealand, John Gordon. His third time competing on the world stage, John has previously represented the United Kingdom at the WBC.

In his qualifying performance, John used a Project Origin-sourced CM Selections coffee from Ethiopia. In his routine, he spoke about how trips to origin and his love of technology has inspired him.

“When I took my first trip [to Ethiopia], I couldn’t help but fall in love with the country and the people,” he said to the sensory judges.

“However, I couldn’t help but notice the difficulties they face in processing coffees… this limitation in potential boils down to the accessibility to modern resources, techniques and technology.”

John said that he noticed that many washing stations and mills experienced lack of power, or power outages. He believes that the carbonic maceration process is an effective way to process coffee without risk of uncontrolled fermentation and without the need for power.

“…every variable is controlled and measured and once fermentation is complete, the cherries are removed and dried on raised beds,” he explained to the judges. The coffee he used was processed at the ZB washing station in Mesina, Ethiopia.

“The [ZB] washing station is run by Ayana,” John explained. “With the help of Project Origin, [he] conducted experimental carbonic maceration lots, which shows greater flavour diversity in Ethiopian coffees.”


Also returning to the world stage is South African Barista Champion, Winston Thomas. A two-time National Barista Champion and former South African Aeropress Champion, Winston also chose to use a Project Origin CM Selections lot for his performance, using a coffee from the Jasper category.

Winston’s performance focused on identity. Throughout this routine, he used information about the coffee’s flavour to share the identity of the Jasper 0818 lot with the sensory judges.

“I first fell in love with this coffee on the cupping table,” he said. “When I smelt this coffee’s aroma for the first time, I immediately knew that it was something I wanted to serve at the WBC.”

He also spoke about the carbonic maceration process and how this also helped to share the identity of the coffee he had chosen.

“….this doesn’t serve to change the coffee in any way – rather, [carbonic maceration] intensifies the inherent qualities that are already in the coffee,” he said.

“Learning about coffees and their identities is an extension of our own identities.”


Irish Barista Champion, Arvin Khedun is no stranger to competition, having competed in Cup Tasters, Latte Art and Barista competitions in Ireland. His first time competing at the World Barista Championships, Arvind chose to use a Project Origin-sourced geisha from Panama.

Using a washed-process coffee from the ‘Duncan’ lot of Kotowa Estate in Boquete, Arvind shared his passion in three distinct courses, culminating in a signature drink that involved whipped espresso, a hibiscus and orange blossom reduction and chilled espresso.

Project Origin is proud to have been represented by these wonderful competitors on the world stage and grateful that they are sharing the hard work of farmers and producers with the rest of the world.

Congratulations to Agnieska and John for advancing to the semi-finals, and to all other semi-finalists and competitors from the past two days. We look forward to watching more this evening and tomorrow! 

If you are interesting in learning more about the coffees used by these competitors, please get in touch.

Photo credit: Coffee T&I Magazine

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