EXCLUSIVE: Harry Mole shares his WBC2019 experience
SCASA’s 2019 National Barista Champion, Harry Mole, is back in the country after a much needed break, traveling the good ol’ USA and competing at the World Barista Championships in Boston last month. Harry took some time to share his WBC experience with us.
Sasa Sestic (WBC Champion 2015) with Harry Mole and his coach John Evans
The World Barista Championship is such an amazing event, tell us more about your first impressions and your overall experience just being there?
It’s so well organized and each of the competitors is attended to with opportunities to engage with each other and the organizers. Straight away I was surprised by the amount of competitors and size of the event; it’s so great to share that space with legends.
You mentioned you would like to develop your palate more going forward. What strategy will you be putting in place to achieve this?
Eating a lot more haha… I’ll be working with more sensory kits and looking into training at available courses that focus on triangulation of flavours.
Sounds like a good plan!
Having been at the WBC now, what elements do you think we can implement back here in South Africa?
I think focus needs to be directed at any questions regarding rules at orientation with competitors. Having a head judge present to guide individuals and set boundaries from the beginning of each competition is paramount.
Tell us a bit more about the Teams Competition? You we’re part of Team Espresso along with competitors from USA, Poland, Azerbaijan and Switzerland. What was that experience like?
It was great! It’s a good opportunity to make friends and learn from other competitors. We made a menu, smashed out some amazing coffees together and got the t-shirt. I served the best decaf I’ve ever tasted, it was processed with sugar cane… Right!?
Did you follow any of the other competitors’ sets? Whose did you enjoy? What stood out for you or what did you find interesting?
I did and wow, it’s so inspiring seeing other creative outlets from around the world. My favourite was Dove Chen from New Zealand who used a double lactic fermentation Panama Geisha from Finca Nuguo. He used Skittles in his set to make judges taste the rainbow with flavours similar to his coffee, so cool…
Wow, you had us at double lactic fermentation.
Boston, a great city for this type of competition. What about the city, sights, experiences, etc. did you enjoy?
It was really cold, but I had the opportunity to watch the Red Sox at Fenway Park, so great! We walked through Harvard University and rode around on bicycles, everyone in Boston is very friendly and the food is awesome. I could navigate the Freedom Trial in town from a game I played called Fallout, I was very happy!
What souvenirs did you bring back?
I got a new Brewista temperature control kettle for my home and Pop Tarts! Also Dr Pepper is my new favourite!
How will you remember WBC2019? A tattoo perhaps?
Yup! I got a small baseball bat tattoo at Boston Seapoint…
What’s next for Harry Mole?
I’m going to take sometime to build on what I’ve learnt at WBC. There’s a larger creative process I want to work on and coffee I would like to focus on for future competitions. I’ll continue teaching and running our wholesale at TriBeCa Coffee; I’ll also hopefully get to travel the country and inspire future competitors.
Thanks for making us proud back in South Africa Harry and for representing. Do you have a message for your fans?
Thank you so much for the support and opportunity to represent our beautiful country. We are not far off in terms of speciality coffee here in SA, many competitors are surprised at our caliber and perseverance. I look forward to sharing my experiences and having a cup of coffee with you all. Stay warm, Winter is coming 😉
Thanks Harry, looking forward to it.
Photos: Harry Mole & John Evans
source: SCASA Speciality Coffee Association of Southern Africa.