Barista Magazine

JUN-JUL 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 65 of 103

what I can do now. This mindset made me more comfortable and [able to] enjoy preparation everyday. I felt even more comfortable when arriving in Boston because I already have some experience last year and can foresee what will happen in competition." Everyone else at the WBC in Boston, however—judges, fellow competitors, and spectators alike—could never have predicted what Joo Yeon was about to pull off. To begin with, she sat on one of her presentation tables as her judges arrived. This was an oh-my-gosh-what's-happening moment in WBC history if there ever was one. While the formalities associated with barista-competition performances have long been thought to con- vey a respect for the game and the coffee, Joo Yeon's relaxed welcome was also reverent—just in a whole different way. After greeting the judges, she hopped down to get to work, but not before inviting them to lean or sit on the table themselves. "I want to share the best coffee experience, the experience with friends, all about coffee is friends," she says of her routine. Incorporating that warmth and informality, Federico says, was cru- cial: "I have always believed that form is as important as substance," he says. "We had developed a central concept that had lots of scientifi c content—substance—so we needed to balance this by creating a friendly delivery—form—that would lighten the presentation without compromising the in-depth scientifi c approach. So while brainstorm- ing ideas for a fun setting, Hyunki suggested sitting judges on the table, just like coffee consumers commonly sit on benches outside of a café sharing a small space between them. We all thought it was a brilliant idea and great solution because it would make the judges more relaxed and feel closer to Joo Yeon, to enjoy her coffee as friends and lighten the experience." If you've seen a WBC—any WBC—there has likely been at least one competitor who goes so in-depth, brings in so much science, gets so intensely, deeply philosophical that even the best-trained judges' eyes will glaze over. Besides recasting what a performance could be—friendly and unfussy, as opposed to somber and overly intense— Joo Yeon accomplished something no one before her has been able to pull off. She dove deep into nerd science, and won: Her intent was to explore the effects of carbohydrates on coffee. She did it so engagingly however, that even the least science-minded person could follow along. Using a non-Gesha coffee—a Sidra!—from Colombia's renowned La Palma Y El Tucan, she extracted polysaccharides for the judges to taste as the fi rst part of her signature-drink presentation. She wanted them to appreciate the fl avorless element that plays an important role in making the coffee full-bodied. By separating and reintroducing the carbohydrates in the coffee—disaccharides, monosaccharaides, and oligosaccharides—she achieved her end goal, which was to showcase a coffee made better by the reintroduction of carbohydrates that have been lost during the roasting process. Her performance was so much more interesting to read than that last paragraph was, people. Joo Yeon's inherent sparkle brought the story, the science lesson, to life. She never bogged it down, talked too fast, overwhelmed her audience, or lost her breath. To close her performance, she took an already elevated routine to the prettiest, happiest heights: She instructed her judges to face one another on op- posite sides of the table, raise their glasses of her reconstituted Sidra, and toast one another. As their goblets met, Joo Yeon delightedly cried "Cheers!" along with them. And the audience went wild. And history was made. Joo Yeon was unreachable for the fi rst few days after the WBC. She'd made plans to have fun in New York City with friends after the competition, and so that's what she did. Since her revelations after a too-serious and ultimately unsuccessful performance in Amsterdam, Joo Yeon has decided she won't put her life on hold again. Today, she's back at MOMOS doing what she loves best: making coffee, hanging out with her friends, spending time with her family, and making plans for travel. "I want to visit the farms in origins and participate in the research and development [being] done for improv- ing coffee quality and improving life for people in the farms," she says of what she hopes her year as World Barista Champion will bring. Joo Yeon is proud to follow her friend, 2018 World Barista Champi- on Agnieszka Rojewska, as the second woman to win the competition. She looks forward to opportunities to build women in coffee up: "My winning hope is to encourage the female baristas in the world," she says. "They deserve to have confi dence, and we can make changes." As she was on that literal WBC stage, as well as the fi gurative one upon which she changed what a WBC-winning performance means forever, Joo Yeon brings the purest kind of joy to coffee. "She has such a great personality and is such an amazing person. She wears a smile all the time and is full of contagious positive energy," Federico says. "Joo Yeon is the real deal." 66 barista magazine

Articles in this issue

view archives of Barista Magazine - JUN-JUL 2019