2019 WAC world final
1st Place: Wendelien van Bunnik, the Netherlands
2nd Place: Benja Khemacheva, Thailand
3rd Place: Alexis Gagnaire, France
Competition day began just before lunch, as hopeful coffee brewers from all corners of the planet arrived and got set up in their dedicated practice space. As the clock struck 1:00pm, the top-secret coffee was revealed, and competitors had just three hours to adjust their recipes, eking the best flavours, textures, and finish possible from beans they’d never tasted before.
As London’s way-too-early nightfall descended, battle commenced. In rounds of three, competitors took to the dual stages at staggered intervals, brewing against the clock for a chance of taking home a trophy. Winners progressed onwards to future rounds while losers took to a side stage to brew their recipes for the crowd to taste, and the tri-lingual powerhouse emcee duo of Ximena Rubio and Oli Bradshaw extracted insight from those on stage, in English, Spanish, and German.
The 700-strong crowd of enthusiastic coffee lovers cheered, whooped, and hollered as their national champions either advanced or bowed out of the tournament, taking cues from the musical stylings of DJ Chewy. Those taking a break from the frenzy of the competition had a wide range of food and drinks to sustain them, including free espresso and oat milk cappuccinos, haggis toasties, fried chicken, and a full bar.
By 9:00 pm, our 2019 champion had been crowned and the golden AeroPress raised aloft. As competitors and spectators alike made their way home from the venue, some travelling locally and others with many, many miles, only one question remained.