Friday 17 May 2024
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Wataru Iidaka, World Brewers Cup’s runner up: “I used three kinds of Panama Geisha coffee to get a gradation of flavours”

Iidaka: "I have been training WBrC every day since January. At first I focused on compulsory and from February I increased the weights for open service. March was mostly open service practice."

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MILAN – We spoke to Wataru Iidaka from SAZA COFFEE Japan, runner-up of the World brewers cup 2024. He is in his third attempt in this world competition and is now back on the podium: what did he learn from his previous experiences that helped him in this latest round? Let’s hear directly from him.

Wataru Iidaka shares his first suggestion: focusing on quality

It is to practice for the real thing. When it comes to practice,we tend to focus on the number of times and the amount of time, but I think it is important that we are working on the quality.”

La Cimbali

Can you tell us about the coffee you brought to the competition? How did you select it, what are its organoleptic characteristics, how did you handle it in the extraction

“I used 3 kinds of Panama Geisha coffee. In the bottom of the dripper, I put 6g of natural processed coffee from Finca Nuguo to focus on beautiful colorful acidity. In the middle, 5g of natural processed coffee from Janson Estate. On the top, 4g of Honey processed coffee from Hacienda la Esmeralda.

The 3 layers bring about a gradation of flavours depending on the temperature range. The fruitiness is reminiscent of white, then orange,and finally red. To achieve this target, 4 tools are needed.

Gimoka

1 UFO Dripper
2 Sibarist filter
3 Extract Chilling
4 Melo Drip“.

Has being part of the big Saza Coffee family supported you on your way to the world championships and how?

The president, Taro and SAZA COFFEE team, has created an environment where everything is in place to increase my chances of winning.”

How much and how did you train to get ready for the world championship?

“I have been training WBrC every day since January. At first I focused on compulsory and from February I increased the weights for open service. March was mostly open service practice.”

Are there many from Japan competing in this category?

“There were 60 entries. It is so popular that registration closed in 2 minutes!”.

What is coffee for you, coming from a country where tea is traditionally consumed?

Coffee is a drink that is both everyday and extraordinary. It is a drink that eneryone around the world can enjoy in common, depending on when, where, with whom, what,and how you drink it.”

However, you have also competed 7 times in the barista competition, making it to the finals three times: can you compare the two competitions and… will you try again to win?

“I would like to try if I have a chance. Because the possibilities are equal.”

Now, what awaits you and what would you like to achieve as a professional?

“We are entering the age of AI. I believe that what only humans can do will create even more value.

We are embarking on an adventure to find what only humans can do and what only professionals baristas can do.

We aim to provide even higher value by combining our strengths with the evolution of technology.”

CIMBALI

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