November’s Four New World Coffee Champions

November’s Four New World Coffee Champions

LLast month, four new World Coffee Champions were crowned in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Of the 140 competitors at Brazil International Coffee Week (7-9 November 2018) for the Brazil World Coffee Competitions, four national champions – representing chapters in Europe, Asia, and Australia – were awarded the highest title in their competitive field.

2018 World Latte Art Champion: Irvine Quek | Malaysia
Irvine Quek (Geórgia Thomé for World Coffee Events).

At the World Latte Art Championship, baristas focus on artistic expression in milk drinks. The competition begins with each competitor producing a single creative latte pattern at the Art Bar before moving to the main stage to create two identical free pour and two identical designer lattes.

Scores from both stages are combined to reveal the top 12 semi-finalists, who then must create two matching sets of free-pour latte patterns and one matching set of free-pour macchiatos.

The top six competitors – Liang Fan (China), Agnieszka Rojewska (Poland), Irvine Quek (Malaysia), Wonjae Choi (South Korea), Shinsaku Fukayama (Japan), and Michalis Karagiannis (Greece) – had to produce two different sets of free pour latte patterns and one matching set of designer lattes.

Two identical pours from 2018 World Latte Art Champion, Irvine Quek (Geórgia Thomé for World Coffee Events).

Although only 20 years old, Irvine Quek – this year’s World Latte Art Champion – has been a barista for four years and currently works at 103coffeeworkshop in Kuala Lumpur. Irvine has achieved the previous rankings in competitive efforts:

  • 2016 Malaysia Latte Art Championship – 6th Place
  • 2017 Malaysia Latte Art Championship – 4th Place
  • 2018 Malaysia Latte Art Champion
  • 2018 Ristr8to World Latte Art Champion
2018 World Coffee in Good Spirits Champion: Dan Fellows | United Kingdom
Dan Fellows (Geórgia Thomé for World Coffee Events).

The World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship promotes innovation in beverage recipes combining coffee and alcohol. The competition’s preliminary stage is split into two rounds: a stage round, where competitors produce two identical hot drinks and two identical cold drinks, and the off-site Spirit Bar round.

The final six competitors, determined by the highest preliminary round scores, produce two Irish Coffees and two coffee-and-alcohol-based designer drinks for a panel of judges. This year’s finalists were: Manos Mamakis (Greece), Min-Seo Kang (South Korea), Dan Banaintan (Italy), Artem Bakurov (Ukraine), Dan Fellows (United Kingdom), and Danny Wilson (Australia).

Dan Fellows (Geórgia Thomé for World Coffee Events).

Dan Fellows, Head of Wholesale at Origin Coffee, is a seasoned competitor – Dan first began competing in 2012 – who has placed in numerous national and international competitions:

  • 2012 World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, Seoul – 4th Place
  • 2016 UK Barista Champion
  • 2016 World Barista Championship, Dublin – 9th Place, Semi-Finals
  • 2012 / 2018 / 2019 UK Coffee in Good Spirits Champion

Before departing for Brazil, Dan won the title of the 2019 UK CIGS Champion and will go on to defend his title as 2018 World Coffee in Good Spirits Champion at the 2019 World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship.

2018 World Brewers Cup Champion: Emi Fukahori | Switzerland
Emi Fukahori (Rodrigo Torii for World Coffee Events).

The World Brewers Cup competition highlights the craft of filter coffee brewing by hand, promoting manual coffee brewing and service excellence.

In the first round of the competition, competitors must complete two coffee services – a compulsory service, where competitors prepare three beverages utilizing whole bean coffee provided to them by the competition, and an open service, where competitors prepare and present judges with a brewed portion of any whole bean coffee of their choosing.

The six competitors with the highest score in the first round go on to compete in the finals round, which consists exclusively of an open service. This year’s six finalists were: Regine Wai Yee Beng (Malaysia), Stathis Koremtas (Greece), Pang-Yu Liu (Taiwan), Kaoru Kamiyama (Japan), Yeo Qing He (Singapore), and this year’s Champion, Emi Fukahori (Switzerland).

Emi Fukahori (Rodrigo Torii for World Coffee Events).

In addition to success in national competition, Emi previously competed on the World Barista Championship Stage in Seattle:

  • 2015 World Barista Championship, Seattle – 36th Place
  • 2015 Swiss Barista Champion
  • 2016 Swiss Barista Championship – 3rd Place
  • 2017 Swiss Brewers Cup – 3rd Place
  • 2018 Swiss Brewers Cup Champion

Emi co-owns and runs MAME in Zurich.

2018 World Cup Tasters Champion: Yama Kim | Australia
Yama Kim (Jeff Hann for World Coffee Events).

The World Cup Tasters Championship awards professional coffee tasters who demonstrate speed, skill, and accuracy in distinguishing the taste differences in specialty coffees.

Competitors are presented with eight sets of three coffee cups, in each of which two will be identical and one will be different. Using the skills of smell, taste, attention, and experience, the tasters must identify the odd cup in the triangle as quickly as they can.

The top eight competitors with the most correct answers and fastest times proceed to the semi-finals round, where they are then whittled down to four final competitors. This year’s finalists were: Niels Te Vaanhold (The Netherlands), Walter Acevedo (Colombia), Waruth Tangsuriyapaisan (Thailand), and this year’s Champion, Yama Kim (Austrailia).

The four finalists of the 2018 World Cup Tasters Championship (Jeff Hann for World Coffee Events).

In addition to repeated success in national competition, Yama previously made it to the Semi-Finals round in the 2017 World Cup Tasters Championship:

  • 2017 World Cup Tasters Championship, Budapest – 6th Place, Semi-Finals
  • 2017 Central Region Cup Tasters Champion
  • 2017 Australian Cup Tasters Champion
  • 2018 Central Region Cup Tasters Champion
  • 2018 Australian Cup Tasters Champion

Yama, currently working as a barista at Kingswood Coffee Roasters in Sydney, holds a degree in Viticulture, a branch of the science of horticulture which focuses on the cultivation and harvesting of grapes.

The World Coffee Competitions are organized by WORLD COFFEE EVENTS. The 2019 World Barista Champion and 2019 World Brewers Cup will be held at SCA’s Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston, USA (April 11-14, 2019). The 2019 World Latte Art Championship, 2019 World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, 2019 World Cup Tasters Championship, and 2019 Cezve/Ibrik Championship will all take place during SCA’s World of Coffee event in Berlin, Germany (June 8-10, 2019).

For more information on World Coffee Events or the Brazil World Coffee Competitions, please visit