Barista Magazine

AUG-SEP 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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3rd Place Mathieu Theis, MAME Barista Champion of Switzerland What was the inspiration for your signature drink? I wanted something truly new that would surprise the judges not so much visually but more from a texture point of view. I saw mo- lecular cuisine as an opportunity for coffee. Unfortunately, it has been done before with coffee but only pearls, which means small coffee drops, and a texture that is gummy and not so enjoyable. I kept trying and trying, and one day, I succeeded in making a big espresso drop that was the size of a table-tennis ball with a thin membrane that popped in the mouth. I knew at that time that I had something solid for coffee com- petition. I tried it in Switzerland and the judges really liked it. I got feedback that it would be even better with some special ingredi- ents. So with Ben [Put, his coach], we investigated how to make it even better. We found that we could carbonate the drop to make it fi zzy. Then we used a bit of vanilla, and all of a sudden we had a Coca-Cola coffee drop that tasted so delicious. What coffee did you use? I used a Costa Rican coffee named Tito Lidio from the Tarrazú region. It's a Caturra and Red Catuai variety, but what makes this coffee special is the process. It's an anaerobic fermentation which means the whole cherries are sealed in a water tank for 20 hours. That fermentation develops unique notes like cinnamon. How did it work in concert with the rest of your performance? I wanted my presentation to be a mirror of who I am. In my coffee shop, my customers and I are very close, because to me, coffee is fi rst and foremost a nice moment with people. Emotions play a big role in the coffee experience—that's why for my signature drink I wanted to surprise the judges by having a drink they've never had before. What is the exact recipe for the drink? For my signature, I made two espresso drops per judge. For this you need: espresso of course, then 1 gram of calcium lactate and 2 grams of vanilla beans frozen for 24 hours. Then I put the espresso drops in a bath of sodium alginate for 7 minutes to create the drops with a thin membrane. Then I put the espresso drops in a whipper with water and injected one cartridge of CO 2 and waited 1 hour. And now, the espresso drops are ready! Were there special drinking instructions for the judges? Not really. Just to tilt the glass high to make sure the espresso drops fall onto the judge's palate. Does the drink have a name? Espresso Drops. Anything else to add about the drink? It was such a fun experiment with a nice ending. But for a long time, I thought it would never work. Always keep trying! PHOTO BY JEFF HANN FOR WCE 94 barista magazine

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