World of Coffee in Vienna

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We were in Vienna first of all to exhibit the Perfect Espresso books and training system at the World of Coffee event that hosted four of the World Coffee Championships. These events and winners were as follows:

World Barista Championship Raul Rodas (Guatemala)

World Cup Tasters Championship Cory Andreen (Germany)

World Brewers Championship Matt Perger (Australia)

World Cezve/Ibrik Championship Zoltan Kis (Hungary)

As well as the other exhibitors from Australia (Cafetto, Natvia and Da Vinci Gourmet Syrups) and all the other Australian supporters, Paul and I were there waving the flag for Craig Simon (from Veneziano Coffee) the Australian Barista Champion, Fred Lullfitz (from Di Bella) the Australian Cup Tasters Champion and Matt Perger (from St Ali) the Australian Brewers Champion. We were particularly proud of Matt Perger, the latest World Champion from Australia, who also came 3rd in last year's World Barista Championship. It’s a case of ‘watch this space’ as Matt is a young man who is making his mark on the international coffee scene at a very young age, very quickly.

There were teams from over 50 competing countries with competitors, managers, judges and supporters and our small stand attracted a good proportion of them. Consequently we have made many new friends in the coffee world. Someone I am particularly grateful to is Sergey, a Ukrainian judge who set me right on an inaccuracy in my coffee history. Many of the history sources cite Koltschitsky (the spy responsible for helping to free Vienna from Turkish control in 1683) as Polish. Sergey was able to supply me with convincing evidence (along with some lovely photos) that Koltschitsky was, in fact, Ukrainian. It was also a delight to meet Alf Kramer who was influential in starting the whole World Barista Championship concept. For this reason Alf has become a legendary figure in the coffee world but he is also a down to earth man with an enormous sense of humour - who says he has a degree in human behaviour. Whether this qualification is real or imaginary, I don’t know, but clearly Alf has extraordinary insight into the way people relate and behave and it was a pleasure to spend time with him at the Opening Reception.

I was also invited to do a presentation on Training Strategies to a group of 50 certified barista trainers from the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe. It was a tall order to decide what strategies to pick from a 26-year career as a teacher and trainer but apparently my choice went down well, as I have had some lovely emails back from those who attended. And lots of fun we had too – devoting time to researching the Viennese coffee and cake concept. We took in a good number of the traditional coffee houses that have been around for hundreds of years, along with a few of the emerging new wave places, some of which had only been open a few weeks. I will be blogging on the details shortly.