Simo Christidi, Norway

Norway
Simo Christidi
Solberg & Hansen

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am 42 yrs old, married and, father of 2 beautiful kids. I have been in the coffee industry since 2004. All those years I have been working for Solberg & Hansen in Oslo. I am the head roaster and I am still learning.

How eid you get started in coffee?

I graduated as an automation engineer just in case you have any technical issues. Coffee appeared in my life quite unexpectingly but since then, those beautiful small beans have changed my life.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

2012 World Coffee Roasting Challenge (først ever) – 1st Place :-)

2005 & 2017 Norwegian Coffee Tasting Championship – 2nd Place

2017 Norwegian Coffee Roasting Championship – 1st Place

Nordic Roaster Championships (Team Solberg & Hansen)

What roaster do you currently roast on?

Probat G120, Probat Neptune 500, Loring Smart Roast Kestrel S35

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

I learned from the best school there is: Solberg & Hansen

What are your interests outside of coffee?

Basketball and football are my weekly activities, and I love the systems they use in basketball.  Beside that, I love to spend time with my family in Greece and I travel there as often as possible.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

Much wiser, older, and definitely working with coffee.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

First of all my company, Solberg & Hansen, and all those incredible people that work with me daily, and all those who I’ve worked with in the past.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

I am looking forward to visit China because I love this country. But for the moment I am focused on winning this competition.

Facebook: simo.christidi

Instagram: simo_christidi

Matthew Robley-Siemonsma, United Kingdom

United Kingdom
Matthew Robley-Siemonsma
Prufrock Coffee

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am a new father. I love great coffee, coffee roasting, coffee people, coffee business, product design, art.

How did you get started in coffee?

It’s a long story like everyone’s!  In 2007 during the last year of my art degree I was just starting to learn how to make decent filter coffee at home.  I think it was in that same year that I first had a really really good coffee.  It was a Kenyan brewed with a Chemex at Sightglass Coffee when they were just a kiosk starting in San Francisco.  It really tasted like strawberries!  In 2009 I moved to the UK and since then I’ve taken part and learned a lot during this exciting era for coffee in London.  I became a naturalised British Citizen in 2015 and I’m now the General Manager at Prufrock Coffee!

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

2017 UK Roasting Championship – 1st Place

2016 World Coffee Roasting Championship – 3rd Place

2016 UK Roasting Championship – 1st Place

What roaster do you currently roast on?

IKAWA Pro, 2kg Probat, 1kg Diedrich

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

We learn best when we work together and collaborate as a community!

What are your interests outside of coffee?

Drawing, designing and making things, listening to records and podcasts.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

On a beach somewhere with good coffee:)

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

I’d really like to thank my partner Beth and everyone at Prufrock for supporting me.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

Eat the amazing food!

Facebook: Prufrockcoffee

Twitter: flyinglumber

Instagram: flyinglumberyard

Yuliia Saichuk, Ukraine

Ukraine
Yuliia Saichuk
Svit Kavy

How did you get started in coffee?

This is a fun story. While studying at the university I decided to work during the summer holidays. It was a waiter job in a coffee shop, I liked it and I stayed to work further … until today. After a waiter I became a barista, I was very pleased to work with guests, discussing their coffee preferences.  I discovered coffee from the other side, it was the basis for development and experiments. Then there were championships, new impressions and I clearly understood that I wanted to know absolutely everything about coffee from the plantation and ending with an ideal cup. And at the moment when I was not getting enough preparation, I started taking a roast coffee. And now I am quite happy with what I do. I will give the guests of our coffee shop pleasures in the form of their perfect cup of coffee.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

Ukrainian Barista Championship 2011 – 3rd Place

Ukrainian Barista Championship 2013 – 5th Place

Cezve/Ibrik Championship Rimini 2014 – 8th Place

Cezve/Ibrik Championship Athens 2015 – 5th Place

What roaster do you currently roast on?

Giesen W15, Giesen W6A and Giesen W1A.

 

What are your interests outside of coffee?

I often travel, I like to learn something new for myself. In travel, you discover not only new places, people and their traditions .. you discover yourself, and this is the greatest pleasure. I adore cooking— creating new tastes experimenting with a combination of products. I like to be alone with myself, because of this, yoga is an integral part of my life. I like to know my body, artistic gymnastics helps me to do it. I am always in motion … because this movement is life.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I want to study coffee completely. I have experience in preparing and roasting coffee. And I clearly know that the next step is to study the processing of coffee beans. That’s why this winter I will not go skiing, I will go to Ethiopia to experience coffee from it’s first steps.

 

Mark Michaelson, United States

United States
Mark Michaelson
Onyx Coffee Lab

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I enjoy roasting, my family, and watching comedies.

How did you get started in coffee?

I started in coffee as a second career, while using a local coffee shop as my second office. While there, I fell in love with all aspects of coffee and pursued the owner to give me a job.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

I have only personally competed in two competitions, which was this year (2017). The first regional competition I placed 5th. The second competition, which was nationals, I placed first.

What roaster do you currently roast on?

IR12, IR40, and a two barrel Primo Sample Roaster

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

By taking classes, experimenting, and learning to cup correctly.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

My family. I have three boys and a wife of almost ten years. Besides that I like comedies, stand up, and podcasts.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

Continuing to learn my craft and get better than I currently am.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

Jon and Andrea Allen who are the owners of Onyx Coffee Lab. Without their help and support, I would not be where I am today.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

Getting to experience the culture, learning from my fellow competitors, and eating awesome food.

Facebook: mark.michaelson1

Twitter: markitats1981

Instagram: mark_michaelson

Serkan Sagsoz, Turkey

Turkey
Serkan Sagsoz
Roast and Found Co.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am 31 years old, married, and I have 1 child. I live in Izmir, Turkey. I finished university and graduated from both Foreign Trade and Business Administration.

How did you get started in coffee?

A friend of mine wanted me to try a cold brew of a coffee shop in Istanbul. After I tasted it and saw some more coffee shops, I said myself ; “this is great but I can do it much better.” So, I started to roast coffee in a room in my house. That’s how I started roasting in 2015.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

2017  Turkish National Coffee Roasting Championship – 1st Place

What roaster do you currently roast on?

Toper Cafemino – 1 kg

Garanti – 5 kg (fully customized)

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

On my own and from books I’ve read.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

Sports, and travelling.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I see myself being at the top of my game in the coffee community.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

I would like to thank to my wife, Melek Sagsoz, and my best friends, Mustafa Okur, and Anil Gunaydin.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

Meeting with the best roasters in the world will be really great.

Facebook: serkan.sagsoz

Twitter: mlkkntsrknsgsz

Instagram: serkan.sagsoz

Ming Hsuan Hua, Taiwan

Taiwan
Ming Hsuan Hua
Reba Coffee

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I started to work in a bank and later changed to the coffee industry. I currently operate a coffee shop in Tainan and I also have an e-commerce bean business.

How did you get started in coffee?

When I was in high school I started brewing and roasting coffee beans. So far, it’s been 20 years.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

2014 Taiwan International Specialty Coffee Association Excellent Roaster

2015 Toper Roast Master Champion

2017 Taiwan Coffee Roasting Champion

What roaster do you currently roast on?

Woots 3.0

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

I am learning to roast coffee myself, and I also discuss with my friends.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

WingChun martial arts. I studied wingchun kung fu for eight years.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I hope to be able to build an international coffee brand and coffee training center.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

I would like to thank my family, my mother, my sisters, and my wife, thank them for their inclusiveness and help me to finish the competition.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

I will visit IP MAN memorial in Foshan.

Facebook: cafeleader.cafeleader

Instagram: rebacafe

Henrik Arvidsson, Sweden

Sweden
Henrik Arvidsson
Blekinge Kafferosteri

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I started roasting coffee 8 years ago, as a coffee lover working for a company which started in 2012.  From the very start the aim has been to learn as much as possible about coffee and to make the best coffee. Through the years I’ve been roasting, reading, taking courses and letting the company grow slowly. This year I decided to apply for the national competition for the first time.

How did you get started in coffee?

I really started out with nothing but a true passion for coffee. I started my own coffee roastery in 2012 with a great passion for coffee and a firm strive for more knowledge to make better and better coffee.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

Swedish Coffee Roasting Championship 2017 – Winner

What roaster do you currently roast on?

Giesen W6a

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

Reading books, taking courses and a lot of practice.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

Music, friends, running and reading.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

Working with coffee and running my company.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

Måns Akne Andersson for the training. Morten Münchow for the roasting. Ida Steen for sensory training  Thanks a million to my wife, Valeria, and my two kids, Nicole and Theo, who have supported me through this journey.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

Going up the Canton Tower.

Facebook: blekingekafferosteri.se

Twiter: KaffeHenke

Instagram: blekingekafferosteri

Joaquín Parra, Spain

Spain
Joaquín Parra
Right Side Coffee

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I live in a town close to Barcelona and travel around the world sourcing unique coffee and enjoying what I do. I like to play football and listen music. Friends and family are my energy and my wonderful Lara which is joining me in this adventure which is life.

How did you get started in coffee?

A long time ago… I cannot say a date because I grew up in touch with coffee, as my family business is a green coffee importer.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

Spanish Roaster Championship 2013 – Winner

World Roaster Championship 2013 – 6th Place

What roaster do you currently roast on?

L12, Probat. Updated to the modern times and needs by myself.

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

In a BR-3 sample roaster. Probat too.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

Music, books, movies, football, food, cooking, wine, beer…

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

Good question. Barcelona is a cool city and the coffee scene is growing year by year. As a pioneer in my country I would like to have a really strong coffee market and hope more people will be focused on quality.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

Family, friends, collegues and Lara who has supported me unconditionally.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

Eat dumplings, enjoy the competition, and have everything under control. It is always a challenge.

Facebook: rightsidecoffee

Twiter: rightsidecoffee

Instagram: rightsidecoffee

Joo Sunghyun, South Korea

South Korea
Joo Sunghyun
180COFFEEROASTERS

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’m headroaster in 180coffeeroasters.  The only company in Korea with two roasting champions. My coach Seungjin Lee was 2013 champion, and I placed 2017.

How did you get started in coffee?

In 2006 I started with a part time job in small cafe, which lead to a strong interest in coffee.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

2015 Korean Good Spirts Championship – 5th Place.

2017 Korean Coffee Roasting Championship – 1st Place

What roaster do you currently roast on?

I use 6 roasters theses days; Giesen W30, Giesen W1, Easyster 1.8, Easyster 7, and a Stronghold S7.

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

I met a good roaster, and today he is my coach. He has taught me a lot of things about roasting.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

When I’ve got a day off I like to play PES2018 (Soccer Game).

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

Maybe I’ll still be working for 180coffeeroasters.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

First my wife Eunsaem. She’s always by my side—she is my anchorwoman.  Secondly my coach, Seungjin Lee, who has taught me the ways of a roasting champion.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

To compete in the roasting championship.

Facebook: sunghyun.joo

Instagram: sunghyun35

Denis Sigulin, Russia

Russia
Denis Sigulin
Coffee Owl Roastsers

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’m 27 years old, I joined the world of coffee in 2011, when started work for KLD Coffee Importers—the biggest supplier of green coffee in Russia. 3.5 years later I left the green company and decided that roasted coffee is what I’m more interested in. Since then I’ve developed my sensory and barista skills. Roasting was on the dark side for me, and too complicated, until last year when I became head of quality control in Coffee Owl Roasters. It was necessary to understand at least the basics in order to control the final product. So I passed basic and intermediate SCAE Roasting course, and that was the beginning.

How did you get started in coffee?

Like most of us who got started, I worked in restaurant, where I met CEO of KLD Coffee Importers – Andrey Elson. At the time I didn’t know who we was, just another guest. We talked about coffee and coffee machines, and after 2 hours of conversation he invited me to have a look at what’s going on in their lab.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

Almost all Cup Teating Championships since 2012 excluding 2014, when we organized it.  But I usually placed somewhere in between 4th and 8th in the final.  Coffee Roasting Championship 2017, 1st place.

What roaster do you currently roast on?

Variety of Probat: 5, 12, and 25kg.

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

I analysed the experience that founder of Coffee Owl Roasters, Oleg Kondaurov provided me. I also passed the SCAE roasting course, read Scott Rao and other opinions and approaches, and talked with some good roasters. From there, I started to practice.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

My main interest is my my family—I became a father in June of this year.  I also do sport.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

As I understand from my experience, 5 years is too huge a period of time for planning. But I love what I do, I’d like to continue my growth in coffee sourcing for our company. It’s one of the most interesting parts of my work.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

Yes, for sure! I’d like to thank Oleg Kondaurov, who showed me what roasting actually is, who helped me stay open-minded and inspired.  Also I’d like to thank my wife. She believes in me, and supports me when no-one else would. I like to thank everyone else who has helped me along the way.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

To participate in this wonderful championship.

Facebook: denis.sigulin

Instagram: sigulek

Katy Szasz, Romania

Romania
Katy Szasz
Independent

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

My name is Katy, I discovered specialty coffee in late 2013, when I instantly fell in love with it and I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I have competed in many competitions, national and international. Now I’m a barista trainer in a chain of restaurants, that love specialty coffee just as I do. I also roast coffee for them.  I have also judged national Barista, Brewers, Cezve/Ibrik Championships, and the latest Cezve/Ibrik Championship.  Can’t wait to see what happens next!

How did you get started in coffee?

I started 5 years ago. A poorly made cappuccino was the thing that lead me to barista school, where I learned a lot of new and interesting things about coffee—things that I have never had clue about. Then I decided to compete in order to get better, faster!

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

National Latte Art Championship 2013 – 6th Place

National Cezve Ibrik Champion 2014, 2015,2016

National Cup Tasting Championship 2014 – 2nd Place

National Cup Tasting Championship 2015 – 3rd Place

Cezve/Ibrik Championship Rimini 2014 – 5th Place

Cezve/Ibrik Championship Athens 2015 – 2nd Place

Cezve/Ibrik Championship Dubai 2016 – 4th Place

What roaster do you currently roast on?

Giesen 6kg, hb 600 sample roaster

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

From Alex Niculae, 2016 World Coffee Roasting Champion.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

I like to travel, read books, and do all sorts of sports. I really like winter sports.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

This question I struggle with, thinking of the future and where I see myself is hard. Five years can easily go by fast, but on paper it was a challenge. Talking about the present is much easier to elaborate on. You never really know the outcome. Setting new goals in place to become more successful. Where I see myself in five to ten years I don’t really know.  I also see myself teaching other people the art of coffee.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

To my trainer, Alex Niculae.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

I would like to visit the city and try the local food. Heard it’s really good and also very different.

Facebook: katy.beatrice.1

Instagram: katy_beatrice

Roberto Espinoza Ramírez, México

México
Roberto Espinoza Ramírez
Inka Yani

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

My name is Roberto Espinoza. I’m 26 years old and I’m the Coffee Roasting Champion of México. I work at Inka Yani Tostadores de Café, a small coffee shop in México City. I enjoy roasting because you can always learn something new about coffee or the process while working. I like when people enjoy a cup of coffee that I roasted, it makes me really happy.

How did you get started in coffee?

I enjoyed my first cup of coffee with my mom when I was little. Since then we’ve been discovering coffee together.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

2° Competencia Mexicana de Tostado 5° Lugar

3° Competencia Mexicana de Tostado 1° Lugar

What roaster do you currently roast on?

Solocafe 5kg Profesional

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

The team from SHB Caffé helped me understand everything about roasting.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

I enjoy new experiences.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

Learning about all the complex world of being a coffee farmer and eventually becoming one.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

I would like to thank everyone at SHB Caffé for sharing their passion with me, my family and friends for their support and patience and all the sponsors for making World Coffee Roasting Championship a reality.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

I want to taste all the coffee from different roasters and countries.

Facebook: roberto.espinoza.07

Hiraku Kondo, Japan

Japan
Hiraku Kondo
Ituka Coffee

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I work at Ituka Coffee in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan. I have a 5 year roasting career and my main machine is a Fuji Royal R-105, 5kg roaster.

How did you get started in coffee?

My first time to drink coffee was when I was 14 years old. After that, I gradually became more interested in coffee and roasting.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

May 2016: Japan Brewers Cup (JBrC), Preliminary Round

July 2016: Japan Cup Tasters Championship (JCTC), Preliminary Round

August 2016: Japan Coffee Roasting Championship (JCRC), 1st place

May 2017: Japan Brewers Cup (JBrC), Semifinalists

July 2017: Japan Cup Tasters Championship (JCTC), Preliminary Round

What roaster do you currently roast on?

I roast on a few different machines.

Giesen: W6A

Fuji Royal:R-105, Discovery

Probat: Probatone5

Loring:S15 Diedrich:Ir-2.5

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

I learned my roasting know-how in “Ituka Coffee” with my chief of coffee roasting.  My career started with sample roasting and coffee cupping.  I am currently working on improving my quality control.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

Music (especially classical music), movies, hiking (especially in autumn), motorcycle riding (especially at seaside), scotch whiskey, to name a few.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I want to have my own café and serve my coffee to many coffee lovers.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

I would like to say many thanks to Mr. Hideo Kato, chief of my workplace, Ituka Coffee. He gave me the skill of coffee roasting, and a lot of valuable support. I’d also like to thank the Specialty Coffee Association of Japan (SCAJ), and particularly the SCAJ Roast Masters Committee who have provided much advice. I would like to say many thanks again to all my coffee friends who have supported me.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

I would like to go to as many coffee shops as I can go in the city. Also, I would like to talk about coffee especially coffee roasting with other coffee roasters.

Instagram: Jallisey

Rubens Gardelli, Italy

Italy
Rubens Gardelli
Gardelli Specialty Coffees

 

Facebook: GardelliCoffee

Instagram: GardelliCoffees

Twitter: GardelliCoffees

Weiwei Ye, China

China
Weiwei Ye
Independent

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am a coffee roaster from Nanjing, China. I opened my first coffee shop 9 years ago, and I started roasting about 2 years ago. I am also a crazy trail runner, cycling enthusiast, and an outdoor sports lover.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

2017 China Coffee Roasting Championship – 1st Place

What roaster do you currently roast on?

Giesen

What are your interests outside of coffee?

Going to places I’ve never been before and experiencing different cultures.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

So many people! My wife, my friends, my coach, teachers, and so on.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

I had been to Guangzhou several times, and some friends also live in Guangzhou. I’m hoping to enjoy the competition and achieve a good result.

Jack Allisey, Australia

Australia
Jack Allisey
Veneziano Coffee Roasters

 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’ve been involved in the coffee industry for the last 9 years. I’m currently Green Buyer for Veneziano Coffee Roasters but have been also been a packer, barista and roaster. I enjoy how much there is to learn in coffee and the constantly changing industry.

How did you get started in coffee?

My father was involved in the industry and I kind of fell into it with a part time job packing coffee while taking time off from education. 9 years later, here we are.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

Victorian Cup Tasters Champion 2013
Australian Coffee Roasting Champion 2017

What roaster do you currently roast on?

Diedrich IR5

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

Trial and error! I’ve had many mentors over the years, and immersed myself in learning as much as possible. Tasting as many roasts as possible with as many people as possible is key.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

Race cars, guitars, cooking.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I will be involved in the coffee industry for the foreseeable future. There is still so much to learn and experience.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

Big thanks to Pat Connolly who helped me prepare for competition as well as everyone at Veneziano. Also to Anne Cooper and Lucy Ward of the Australian Roasters Guild who were behind getting the first Australian competition off the ground.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

Experience the food!

Instagram: Jallisey

 

Panagiotis Matziounis, Greece

Greece
Panagiotis Matziounis
Roasters Kolektiva

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

Owner of Matziounis Coffee Roasting business est.1954, creator of the Roasters Kolektiva project, coffee lover and proud father of two. Coffee roasting for me is an artistic expression, and an activity that fascinates me more and more as I get deeper into the philosophy of coffee. Winning the 1st Hellenic Coffee Roasting Championship has been a dream come true, but also has rewarded the work of three generations, and our everyday effort to provide coffee of excellent quality. I feel honoured to represent Greece in this worldwide competition and wish the best to all of us.

How did you get started in coffee?

I became engaged in coffee from a young age, since my family owned a coffee roasting business. It was a family tradition that started back in 1954, when my grandfather bought his first roaster. I have always been studying and working on the philosophy of coffee. In 2007, I undertook the management of the company. Since then I’ve tried to combine 60 years experience with constant education and research, in order to develop my skills and create fresh and innovative concepts.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

Winner of the 1st Hellenic Roasting Championship, 2017.

What roaster do you currently roast on?

I decided to work with Greek companies, so I use a 30kg coffee roaster from ALECOS and a 15-18kg coffee roaster from Coffeetool.

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

I learnt roasting from my grandfather and father, but I am constantly educating myself through seminars, by exchanging opinions with roasting specialists, and by spending lots and lots of hours on coffee roasting!

What are your interests outside of coffee?

Coffee is not just a job but also a hobby. I try to divide my spare time between family activities and sports.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

My plan and wish is to improve myself and my coffee knowledge. I want to have access to the best coffees, and to develop Roasters Kolektiva into an international brand where I can share my passion and coffees of unique quality with coffee enthusiasts from all over the world.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

First and foremost, my coach, Anastasios Kodellas, certified SCA Barista trainer, and my co-competitor in the Hellenic Roasting Championship, Giorgos Spithakis, for their support, guidance and valuable opinions. Moreover, the companies Coffeetool and Eurogat for providing the equipment and technical support. And of course, my family and my team in Roasters Kolektiva who have always been there for me in my every-day effort to reach excellence.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

I cannot wait to meet coffee roasting experts from all over the world, to exchange knowledge, to develop my self through them and to present my abilities. I am also thrilled to visit China, a county whose culture I have always admired, so I will try to manage my time as best possible in order to gain as many new experiences as possible.

facebook panagiotismatziounis

twitter pmatziounis

instagram panagiotismatziounis

Benjamin Pozsgai, Germany

Germany
Benjamin Pozsgai
Moxxa Caffè

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

Hi, I am Benjamin, my nickname for family and friends is Benson, so that’s why I use this name for all social media accounts. I’m 40 years old and I live in Cologne with my wife and my two kids. Cologne is one of the biggest cities in Germany and we have a growing coffee scene there.

How did you get started in coffee?

I used to be a full time musician so I started to get into coffee just as a tool to stay awake. Late night drives or late night recording studio sessions or rehearsals wouldn’t have worked without intense amounts of coffee. Mostly cheap discounter stuff so it was normal to add sugar and milk. Somehow I discovered there were very different qualitites of coffee out there and that caught my attention.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

2015 German National Roasting Competition – 3rd

2016 German National Roasting Competition – 1st

What roaster do you currently roast on?

I work with a Diedrich IR12 and Cropster at Moxxa Caffè in Cologne and a Probatone 12 and Artisan at Neues Schwarz in Dortmund.

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

I am passionate about coffee and I think that drove me to take my first steps—it made me start working in a roastery, even without having a clue in the very beginning. I just started off trying to roast the profiles my co-worker had already roasted. After a while my sensory skills developed and I started changing profiles a bit. At the time we did not have too many different green coffees, so I roasted them pretty much every day until I got to know these coffees quite well, and it helped me to recognize changes. I think being passionate is the best thing that can happen to you.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

I love music, I am interested in pretty much everything that has distorted guitars. Of course I love my family and I am really into food, especially baking, cookies, and stuff like that.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I guess I will still be working with coffee. I hope to be able to travel more frequently to Central America and Africa, and to be able to work more directly with local farmers and cooperatives. That would be great!

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

The whole German roasting community was very supportive, and it helped to be able to chat and share some insight. I would especially like to thank my colleagues Savvas at Moxxa Caffè and Benedikt at Neues Schwarz and Alec Pfuhl for coaching me.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

I hope to find some time to at least try some good local food. I would love to do some sightseeing or go to the ocean, but I don’t know if that will work out.

facebook bensoncoffee

twitter bensoncoffee

instagram bensoncoffee

Veda Viraswami, France

France
Veda Viraswami
Café Sati

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I was born in Mauritius and I have been living in France for the last 22 years. I am responsible for development and training at Café Sati, which is a French roastery. My journey in the coffee industry started in 2006 and is still going strong.

How did you get started in coffee?

I started in 2006 with little knowledge but with a lot of enthusiasm, and a will for learning.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

2017 French Coffee Roasting Champion

What roaster do you currently roast on?

Probat

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

By sharing and experiencing things with other roasters and of course by reading almost everything ever published on the subject.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

Sports

 

facebook veda.viraswami

Théo Maitre, Denmark

Denmark
Théo Maitre
Sigfreds Kaffefabrik

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am a French man who has lived in Denmark for the last 5 years.I work as a roaster in a micro roastery, in Aarhus.

How did you get started in coffee?

I had a strong interest for coffee in France when I worked in the restaurant industry. When I moved to Denmark I took a basic barista course in a coffee bar, an hour into the course the coffee bar got really busy and the boss asked me if I wanted to stay and help…

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

The Danish Coffee Roasting Championship was the first time I’ve competed.

What roaster do you currently roast on?

Giesen W15

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

Hands on, I would say… I’ve been roasting for 4 years, but the first formal course I took was this year, with the instructor Eystein Veflingtad.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

I love nature, especially mountains, the ocean, skiing, and surfing. I like spending time with my family; my girlfriend, and kids.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

Probably still in the industry, but possibly working more closely with green coffee. I can see myself still trying to convince people why speciality coffee is the way to go. I imagine I’ll be managing my time, so I can be with my family.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

My coach, Belco Green; Bill’s Coffee;  The Factory, Copenhagen; and my girlfriend.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

Nerd out on coffee roasting, of course

facebook theo.maitre

instagram franskmand_theo

 

Robson Rodrigues Ribeiro, Brazil

Brazil
Robson Rodrigues Ribeiro
Cocarive

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am a 29 years old roaster, Q-grader, cupper, and undying coffee lover. I begun my career in 2008 as coffee grader and today I am in charge of all coffee roasters at Cocarive, in Carmo de Minas.

How did you get started in coffee?

I started my career as coffee grader. Then I transfered to the cupping lab where I was an assistant, and today I am a cupper and roaster at Cocarive. In 2012 I became responsible for roasting at the cooperative. After many years of hard work, dedication, and constant learning, I am honored to represent Brazil at World Coffee Roasting Championship! I really could not have a greater achievement in my career.

Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:

The Brazil Coffee Roasting Championship was my first competition ever!

What roaster do you currently roast on?

Probat P4 and Probatino

How did you learn how to roast coffee?

Hands on, I would say… I’ve been roasting for 4 years, but the first formal course I took was this year, with the instructor Eystein Veflingtad.

What are your interests outside of coffee?

I have many! I am a very curious person, and I think it is a quality, because I am always learning new things. My current hobbies are operating drones and decorating cakes =D

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

My goal is to keep moving on professionally, improve my roasting techniques and contribute to the success of the company I belong to.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognise, or who helped you to prepare for the WCRC?

I would like to thank Cocarive for the opportunity to compete, my boss Wellington Babá for believing in my potential, and my colleagues who helped me to move on and improve my work on a daily basis.

What are you excited to do while you are in Guangzhou?

Meeting other coffee professionals, exchange experience, and a little shopping.

facebook robson.ribeiro.33821