Yuri please, tell us how long have you been into coffee and when did you start to drink coffee?
I think I am almost 8 years into coffee, especially into specialty coffee. It all started during my education in a design hotel in Hamburg. I wanted to work as a barkeeper, but as soon as somebody showed me how to work with the coffee machine and how to pour a simple heart into a cup, I immediately fell in love with coffee and never lost this passion. And later on, I thought myself everything out of books and from videos on the internet.
Where did you study and why did you choose to be a barista?
After my education of 3 years in that hotel, I started working for Elbgold coffee roastery in Hamburg as a Barista. I worked for almost 4 years there and started by participating at championships. I think it was not me choosing coffee, but coffee / Latte Art choose me. I think this will be a never-ending relationship!
Where do you work right now?
I now started working for the „Copenhagen coffee lab“. They are soon gonna open some new stores in Hamburg where I will spend most of the time.
How many times have you participated in the championships? How many misses? Did you want to give up the idea of participation after the defeat?
After participating the third time, I won the German Latte Art championship. My first one was in 2016 in Munich. In Germany, we say Aller guten Dinge sind 3! I don’t think that I will stop, because the championships are the reason to go over the limit. They push me to always be a better version than before. I’m always working on my skills and trying to increase my knowledge.
What were the sensations after the victory at the German championship?
It was overwhelming! I tried 3 years to get to this point, and I finally made it. Just unbelievable at that moment. Afterward, nothing really changed. Most people don’t even know that coffee championship exists. Except for the coffee people. I did it because I wanted it. To reach a goal, I had set for myself. It’s my passion and it would be stupid to stop with that.
How long have you been preparing for the world championship? Who helped and support you?
I have been preparing myself for almost 4 months. While working, I trained by pouring my patterns into the guest’s cups and most of the days 4 hours after work, training my stage presentation. In that time, coffee was the main part of my days. As always, I am self-trained in everything. Nobody was really involved, except for some people I asked for feedback. On the end of my, I quitted my job almost 2 weeks before the championship. It sounds stupid to do that before a world championship, but sometimes things happen and you can’t change. It makes it not easier, but it was the right decision.
How did you feel the day before the championship? Was someone close to you?
Honestly, the days before are always stressing. You think about everything that could happen before and on stage and all the professionals you know from the social network that are competing against you. At that time, my girlfriend was really close to me. I had no trainer with me. She was my helping hand backstage before and on stage.
How was the World Latte Art Championship 2019 in Berlin? Did you make mistakes?
The WOC, as an event was great. Even more, because it was in Germany. Everybody I know was there! I had big support and I felt really honored to participate in Germany for Germany. That’s a once in a lifetime chance! I was happy with the result of my first pair of free pours, but when I started pouring the second pair of cups, something went wrong with the milk. The foam was not stable so I couldn’t finish my designer lattes because the foam was disappearing. I finished my presentation with some „overtime“. So at that point, I knew that this was not enough for the semi-finals. Things like that can happen. Afterward, I wasn’t disappointed at all because it was my first world championship and I know since the German championship, I increased my skills while training. Just the 8 minutes on stage I made a mistake, and that could happen to everyone. And against more than 40 Latte Artist it can be dangerous when something like that happens. Failure is a success in progress! I really enjoyed the people and this great event and of course awesome coffee!
What are your plans for the near future? Do you plan to participate in other championships?
I will participate in the next German LA championship. I will try to defend my title. But more important for me is to be better than the last time. My goal will be to have more points on my scoresheet. When there is somebody better than me, I am still happy about being better than before. That’s competition.
What are the 3 tips you can give to beginner’s baristas?
Training, Training, training and to just participate in any competition available. You will learn a lot of important things the first time you compete and most importantly, you are going get feedbacks from top juries from all over the world. Everybody is nice and for sure, you will get a lot of new friends who will all share the same passion!
And the last questions. Can you name your favorite coffee drink?
I drink pure coffee such as a double espresso and all kind of filter coffees. I don’t need milk. Coffee is pure at its best. I haven’t even drank cow milk for over 2 years. I just need it as material for latte art. I hope that someday championships occur without the use of cow’s milk, so we don’t have to train with hundreds of liters of milk just for „Fun“.
Thank you for the answers, Yuri! We wish you good luck and more awards in your collections! 🙂
Special thank to the Yuri https://www.instagram.com/thebaristayuri/ for the photos.