By CONNOR CLARKE
It’s been a whirlwind three months for Italy’s Rubens Gardelli since he was crowned the 2017 World Coffee Roasting Champion at Hotelex Guangzhou, China last December. At the WCE (World Coffee Events) All-Stars event in Shanghai, China last month Rubens’ win felt poignant, with audiences eager to pick up some knowledge from the new Champion, along with other Champions and finalists from the World Coffee Championships.
Rubens has been a fixture in the rankings of the Italian championships for the last number of years, culminating in a fifth place finish at the 2016 Shanghai World Coffee Roasting Championship (WCRC), and second place in the 2014 Nice World Brewers Cup. Rounding out the finalists were two newcomers to the world stage; Jack Allisey representing Australia took second place, while Benjamin Pozgai of Germany took third.
The competition has seen huge growth in competitor interest since debuting in Nice, France in 2013. A pool of talented WCE Certified Judges assess competitors each year on a number of skills; green and roasted coffee evaluation, roast quality using the competition coffee, use of roasting equipment, and accurate roast planning and matching.
Along with the growth in competitors, the Evolution Committee have been building a clear sense of momentum for the competition. In 2017 we saw the introduction of increased production roast flexibility for national competitions, and a clearer and more robust cupping and evaluation procedure, with a new production roast evaluation scoresheet. Audiences also had new chances to try the coffees being roasted by the competitors, and to share their thoughts in a blind “audience choice” section this year, ramping up the sense of excitement on finals day.
Congratulations to Rubens, and to all the competitors who took part in this year’s events – we can’t wait for things to heat up for the next competition cycle.