Looking forward to the WBC and fair.
Meeting people from Bunn, Daterra, La Marzocco, American Roasteries and so on.
All Barista's and local coffee heroes.
Although I'm not so into this competition anymore, I want to make again a prediction for this years finals - top 6.
Some country's you have to trust. 3 specialty country's are sure bets.
1) USA : Pete Licata. A veteran from Hawaï and without any accidents a man for the finals.
2) UK : John Gordon. Missed one point for the last 12 in London, but surely back on the track with this extra year of experience. Good luck John.
3) Australia : Matt Perger. Only 20 years old, but heard some good things about this man.
Then the rest. Canada sends a (for me) unknown Barista and the same with Ireland and the Skandinavian country's. Maybe we need to go elsewhere.
4) Stefanos Domatiotis from Greece. No real suprise last year when he was one of the best in competition and the only one from the top ready for a repeat.
He has been training with Tim Wendelboe, so top 3 seems to be a possible place for him.
5) Ryan Tan, Signapore. Not a typical country, but bit by bit the Asians are closing the gap. Almost certain they'll have one of two in the finals. My pick is Ryan because I heard he's very gifted, and trained by David Makin. We'll see.
6) Let's go crazy and pick our brother Yakup Aydin from The Netherlands. We met (I think) 3 years ago. He was training backstage in Veenendaal at the qualifications for the DBC. I gave him some extra tips and we became friends. I think he has a very good attitude for a competition like this one and trained very hard. Don't know about his coffee, but top 12 seems to be very possible, so why not top 6? Good luck Yakup.
For Belgium Kathleen Serdons was a worthy winner at last years National Championships. She got a very good stage presence and good technique. Her coffee is a secret. Don't know why, but they won't tell anyone.
Good luck Kathleen and hopefully we can get into the top 20 again after two dissapointing years.