Barista Magazine

AUG-SEP 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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What convinced her to pull out of the Pol- ish Brewers Cup, however, wasn't her own competitive nature; it was the other charac- teristic for which she is perhaps best known: benevolence. "One of my friends who was also competing [in the Polish Brewers Cup] told me her coffee has not arrived, so she did not have any coffee for competition. So I gave my coffee to her so she could make a nice debut in the Brewers Cup." Agnieszka told me this while helping that friend, Kamila Adamiec, in her prep time backstage. Kamila and Agnieszka, along with Paulina (Paula) Adamska, are a tight circle of friends. Immediately after being handed the fi rst-place trophy at the WBC, Agnieszka fl ed the spotlight in search of Kamila and Paula, who were peeking from the edge of the backstage area, jumping up and down with excitement. Agnieszka fell to her knees in front of them, offered up her trophy as if to say, "This is yours as much as it is mine." Several hours after that backstage prep in Poland where she had been answering my interview questions, the new World Barista Champion was the one jumping up and down as she watched Kamila accept the winning trophy for the Polish Brewers Cup. Because she is a consummate competitor, Agnieszka understands that it takes an army of supporters and comrades to put together a winning routine for the WBC; the global coffee contest is universally recognized as the highest achievement a coffee profession- al can reach. Agnieszka—whose international fans call her "Aga" and whose longtime Polish nickname is "Rojes"—shares the fact that after her second 34th-place fi nish at a World Barista Championship (in Seattle in 2015 and in Dublin in 2016), "I was crushed. Dublin broke me. I didn't want to come back." She credits the judges at her scoresheet review for bringing her back from the edge. "They were able to keep that small spark inside me," she says. "I knew then that I would skip [barista competitions in] 2017 and spend that year preparing for 2018. So I started very early to look for coffee for nationals. But because I'm independent and it is very hard in Poland to fi nd big sponsors, I was working very hard to get as much money as I could for this campaign. Also, because I'm independent and I did not have [a track record of] good results [in the WBC], not many producers wanted to trust me with their best beans. But I was prepared for that. I had time." What she did not know was that the man who beat her in Seattle—2015 WBC champion Sasa Sestic of Australia—had been watching her. After she won the Polish Barista Championship that would qualify her for Amsterdam, Agnieszka received a phone call from Yanina Ferrerya, green-cof- fee buyer for Sasa's Project Origin import- ing company. "During our most recent trip to Ethiopia, Sasa told me that he wanted to focus more on giving back," she says. "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." Agnieszka says, "Yanina asked if I would consider support from [Sasa's roaster-re- tailer company] ONA Coffee, Project Origin, and Sasa for WBC. I know no person that would say no to this offer. I was super shocked and excited. So this time [for the WBC] I had not only better coffee, but also a coach for a longer period of time. This was so much different than other years." She says the agreement with Sasa was pretty clear: The scholarship being offered (another recipient of which was John Gordon of New Zealand, who placed sixth in Am- sterdam) included Sasa's coaching and the coffee. Agnieszka would have to get herself to Canberra, Australia, for training, but that was her only expense. "Yanina offered to let me stay at her place, so it was just the fl ight ticket," says Agnieszka. "You simply can't imagine how shocking it was for me. I will never be able to thank them all for that—not only Sasa but also his wonderful team: Hugh, Matt, Angus, Sam, Yanina. I felt like I was entering a new family and felt very welcome." In Canberra, Agnieszka spent two days working closely with Sasa on her main theme and message. "We focused on build- ing it very clear," she says. Agnieszka then worked with ONA's head roaster, Sam Corra, and two-time Australian Barista Champion and ONA's head trainer, Hugh Kelly, on coffee tasting and balance. "I also did a few 2011 Polish Latte Art Championship: 3rd place Polish Barista Championship: 6th place 2012 Polish Barista Championship: 5th place 2013 Polish Latte Art Championship: 5th place Polish Barista Competition, Coffee Fest Łódź (not affi liated with WBC): 1st place 2014 Polish Latte Art Championship: 1st place World Latte Art Championship (Melbourne): 17th place Polish Barista Championship: 2nd place Polish Latte Art Cup: 1st place 2015 Polish Barista Championship: 1st place World Barista Championship (Seattle): 34th place Milano Latte Art Challenge: 1st place 2016 Polish Latte Art Championship: 1st place World Latte Art Championship (Shanghai): 5th place Polish Barista Championship: 1st place World Barista Championship (Dublin): 34th place World Latte Art Battle (Seoul): Top 8 2017 Polish Brewers Cup: 2nd place Polish Latte Art Championship: 1st place World Latte Art Championship (Budapest): 3rd place World Latte Art Battle: Top 8 Coffee Masters (New York City): 2nd place 2018 Polish Coffee In Good Spirits Championship: 2nd place Coffee Masters (London): 1st place Polish Latte Art Championship: 1st place Polish Barista Championship: 1st place World Barista Championship (Amsterdam): 1st place Agnieszka's Competition CV 77 www.baristamagazine.com

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