Saturday 15 June 2024
  • La Cimbali

Martin Wölfl, World Brewers Cup  2024  Champion: ‘Never stop trying, your day will come’

The champion: "Together with my coach Janine de Laar, we formed a new routine with a new speech and new coffee. As the coffee was such an unique innovation I started to think about using this as my main topic. But as we started to write the speech, we found out that not just the coffee is an innovation."

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MILAN – Martin Wölfl, CEO of Wildkaffee Austria, has just won the World Brewers Cup 2024 in Chicago, beating 41 other talents from all over the world. Martin Wölfl’s skills and 6 innovations led him to victory, and of course, the coffee as well had its role.

Three days of competition in Chicago: what was the biggest difficulty and instead which test did you think you did best in?

“When you are competing at the Worlds Championship you are facing a lot of challenges during your journey and imagine you just have 10 minutes on the stage where everything has to come together.

You are traveling to another country with completely different conditions. The coffee reacts different to your roast profile, the water tastes different, the coffee peaks at another day, you have to find a way to recover from the jet lag, get yourself in a good shape and you have to do your homework and practice.

In Chicago my coach Janine and I arrived 8 days before the competition and immediately started to prepare. From the beginning on we were super focused and had a good structured plan. For us this was a good decision.

We had enough time to test a lot of different waters and roast profiles and booked a few training sessions in different roasteries and barista training spaces to fix the open service routine.”

Which coffee did you choose for your world championship, how long did it take you to select it and how did you extract it (which brewing tools did you use)?

“The cherries for the world champion coffee come from Mario and Margot Guillen’s “Finca
Maya” in Alto Jaramillo, Boquete region in Panama. These beans then go to the processors, Lost Origin Coffee Labs Panama, who transport the cherries to Panama City overnight, disinfect them, cool them and then subject them to a two-stage fermentation.

Gimoka

Franz, the owner of Lost Origin took care of the whole processing. First they are fermented with wine yeast and then with lactobacteria. The cherries are then dried in filtered air at a low temperature for 33 days.

There are just 3kg of coffee of this lot. As it was just picked in the middle of January it was not much time – Miguel, a friend of mine, got married in Panama and took 2kg back home to Germany where he sent me the coffee to Vienna. The last kg was transported with Andrea from Panama to Chicago, where we met.

I used 17 grams of coffee in 270 milliliters of water with a grind size of 630 microns. The water temperature was 93 degrees Celsius. I brewed the coffee with the new Orea V4 which includes a base with a modular system. I brewed with the Fast bottom for a faster brew with higher extraction.”

How did you prepare for this test? Did you change your routine from when you won the national championship or did you intensify your work?

Martin Wölfl and Trainer Janine de Laar, Photo Junior Vargas

“Together with my coach Janine de Laar, we formed a new routine with a new speech and new coffee. As the coffee was such an unique innovation I started to think about using this as my main topic. But as we started to write the speech, we found out that not just the coffee is an innovation.

The innovations of the last years, like the paper filter from Sibarist, the new brewer from Orea, the new Link roaster, the water from Apax and finally the new cups from 2WayCups, making it possible to serve the coffee with a completely new experience to the customers.”

How did you handle the mental training aspect for a world championship?

The mental aspect for myself is a really important topic. After the second last place at my Worlds Championship in Athens 2023, I was already on the verge of not taking part in any further competitions. But after many years of hard work, I decided that this shouldn’t be the end.

So I put together the perfect team and thought a lot about WHY Iam competing and set my goals. With my new goals and my team my motivation and my fun came back. The days before the competition I also try to get myself into a good shape. So good food, doing sports and get enough sleep is quite important for myself.”

Did you have the support of some company to support the world championship or did you compete alone?

“Its really important to have a good team around you. This wouldn’t be possible without so many people on my side. First of all my wife Anna, who is always supporting me over the last years. My coach Janine, who trained with me and also came with me to Chicago for two weeks.

The roastery Wildkaffee where I am working and where I am running everything in
Austria for, helped me a lot over the years. But I also got a lot of support from the companies.

I worked really close with, like Nucleus, Sibarist, Orea, Apax and 2WayCup. There are so many people involved.”

Can you tell us about the use of the Link Roaster and how it influenced your coffee and thus the competition?

“The Link is a game changer for myself and played a really big role in my preparations. With the Link you can adjust the roast profile so easily and get a feedback immediately, as you can try the coffee very soon after the roasting.

Jerome, Sam and Jordan from Nucleus helped me to find the right roast profile in Chicago and organised a training space for me. As the coffee was fresh after the harvest and processed with a double clean fermentation, this was a totally new experience for us as well. We found a roast profile where we can accentuate the lovely sweet red fruits, floral clean characteristic and integrate the acidity very well.

You can now download this style of roast profile on the new Link App.

What do you think sets you apart from the other competitors in front of the jury?

“I am always trying to make my own thing and trust myself and my coach Janine. To put the coffee, the routine and the whole workflow together was so much fun. I also worked so close together with my partners of the brands I used and all of this felt so comfortable.

I enjoyed it very much to play around with the coffee and the presentation and everything came together the days before the competition. We added piece after piece. Grinding on the stage was a high risk, but the coffee tasted so much better and I really enjoyed it to do so many things on the stage.

This also forced me even more to work harder on my barista skills. So I had fun and loved to work together with my team and the people behind my products I used.”

What new goals do you set yourself now that you are the best brewer in the world this year?

Pokal World Brewers Cup, Photo Junior Vargas

“One of my main goals for this year is to inspire as many people as possible with workshops and talks. “Never stop trying. Never stop believing. Never give up. Your day will come” is my advice for everyone who is competing.

After five years of competing and many ups and downs I know exactly that competitions are a roller coaster. And one of my goal is to work on new products and new tools. So there are many things already on the list and if you want to be the first one getting an update, you can sign in with your email at www.mw.coffee.

I will also launch new coffees with Wildkaffee and we are working on a relaunch for my cold
brew company “25Grams Cold Brew Coffee”. So Iam really looking forward to the next
chapters.”

CIMBALI

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