Hosted by World Coffee Events at CafeShow, Korea’s annual coffee industry show, the event runs from November 9 -12 and will see more than 55 national competitors present three rounds of coffee within a 15 minute period.

In his performance, Hugh spoke about working in Research & Development and how rethinking how he can approach coffee differently has helped him to seek new ways to prepare and understand coffee.

For his performance, Hugh used a green-tip geisha coffee from Jamison Savage of Finca Deborah in Volcan, Panama. The coffee for his first course, the espresso course, was chilled using dry ice before being ground to improve grind consistency. His espresso cups were also chilled on dry ice before being served to the judges, to allow the espresso coffee to cool down and the flavour profiles to develop.

Heads turned for his milk-based course. Using the same coffee, Hugh again used the same geisha coffee, but increased the dose to intensify flavours in the cup. However, it was his milk that had people talking – rather than use a tradition espresso machine steam wand to completely heat his milk, Hugh unveiled a new machine that he introduced as “the Milk Cloud”. Hugh explained that this machine spun the milk at a very high speed, removing air bubbles and creating an incredible texture unlike any seen before in competition.

For his signature course, Hugh used shots of coffee prepared in the two different approaches he used for his espresso and milk-based course. He added a reduction of blackcurrants to the espresso coffee he used for milk-based to further promote the dark fruit flavour profile. He changed the style he used for his espresso coffee, sifting the coffee grinds and dosing very low and extracting a high volume in the cup to promote floral notes in the coffee. To this espresso coffee he added fairy floss, which he prepared using a 50/50 mix of sugar and freeze-dried honey.

We will be keeping you updated via our social media channels of Hugh’s progress and the competition. Live rankings are available at the World Barista Championship website.