We caught up with our very own Wholesale Manager, Paul Ross who is the 2019 UK Barista Champion. After celebrating his win in London a few weeks ago, he's off to Boston to compete on the world stage. We had a quick chat with him about representing the UK at the upcoming 2019 World Barista Championship in Boston and how he's preparing for this exciting day.
Congratulations Paul! How does it feel to be representing the UK at the World Barista Championship?
It’s an amazing feeling and I'm truly honoured to be representing everyone I’ve learned from and worked with. I feel lucky to arrive at a level alongside so many people I respect and look up to. After all the hard work, I feel fortunate to join a level of some incredible people in coffee. It was really fun and helpful to get to work alongside Josh Tarlo our Head of Coffee who won the UK Barista Championship in 2018 and Roosa Jalgoen our Head Roaster who was the Finish Cup Taster Champion in 2018.
You've been spending a lot of time behind our Workshop doors lately. How many hours of practice have you done for your routine?
Over the years thousands of hours, and this year probably hundreds! I've been practising my routine with Josh and Roosa. They've been giving me expert advice and pointers. Getting feedback from such coffee experts before the Championship has really improved my routine.
A lot of the practice happens in your own head. And I’ve been running more than ever this year, getting ready for a half-marathon. This gives me the chance to clear my head and clarify what I want to do behind the espresso machine.
What would you say motivates you the most when you're in such a competitive atmosphere like the World Barista Championship?
Definitely to believe in your own ideas. I also think accepting failures and learning from them makes you stronger and more successful.
My mindset going into the Championship is not to compare myself with fellow baristas but to showcase my best possible performance. I believe that when I focus on my own abilities I perform the best.
Tell us more about your competition coffee and what makes it special?
It’s a cliché but it’s my favourite coffee. I tasted it for the first time almost four years ago and have been competing with it every year since then. I think when I first tasted it I really loved how fruity it was and how different from anything else I’ve ever tasted. There's a special connection you develop with coffees you compete with. I think if that bond is not created it's impossible to showcase the potential of the coffee and your own abilities.
What would be your words of wisdom for a new barista wanting to learn the craft?
Spend time behind the bar, and enjoy it. Enjoy the customers, co-workers. Care about making something great, but care about the people over everything else.
Paul will be competing at the World Barista Championship in Boston on the 12th of April. Stay tuned for updates.