20 Jan 2015

DLA2015 Finalists: Who is Joep Willemsen?

The Dutch Latte Art Championships 2015 finals. Six baristas will compete against each other, each of them hoping they will be good enough to go on to the World Latte Art Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The pre rounds are just behind us. So who is our top six? How do they see coffee? And what will they bring to the Latte Art Finals during the Amsterdam Coffee Festival?

Photo by Vinni Zwaan @wetthefilter blog

works at: Blanche Dael Coffeelovers

Who taught you latte art? 

I taught myself at home, because my espresso was really bad when I first got my espresso machine.  I watched YouTube videos of Scottie Callaghan and Perry Karavas at the time. I tried to imitate them and learnt it like that.

If you walk into a coffeebar that you have not been before and you want to assess the quality level, what do you look for? And what do you order? And why? 

Beards. Beards make good coffee.

Do you order coffee when you know it will be bad, or do you then skip the coffee and order something else?
Depends on whether I really need a cup of coffee or not. If I already had a few, I will choose something else. If it's the only option I have for coffee for the whole day, I'll gladly take it.

What is your favourite brew method?
At home I find myself using the Clever Dripper most often, because it's very controllable like the french press but gives a cleaner cup.

How do you brew coffee at home?
I have some slow coffee toys from which I can pick, but I mostly use the Clever Dripper and Aeropress. And I have an espresso machine. I either buy coffee for the espresso machine, or for slow coffee, never both at the same time, because the coffee gets too old too quickly then.

If people ask you what they should buy for making coffee at home, what do you suggest they do/buy? Why?
Hand grinder, French Press, freshly roasted coffee.

What is the best coffee you had this year?
Best espresso was a Sidamo Natural from Bocca, and on filter I really enjoyed an El Salvador Natural from 3rd Floor Espresso.

Where (coffee related) do you still want to go?
Any specialty coffee plantation. And I'd like to learn more about roasting coffee, but you don't need to travel far for that.

Do you take coffee and coffee brew methods with you when travelling? If so, what do you bring?
I just bought a Porlex grinder for that purpose. It fits inside the Aeropress so now I have a compact travelling kit.

What is the worst coffee you ever had?
Probably the University coffee machines' cappuccino. The coffee doesn't taste like coffee and the milk doesn't taste like milk, it's weird stuff...

And finally some questions about latte art and the Dutch Championships. What is the most important variable (coffee, grind, pitcher, milk, etc) for latte art and why?
All have their influence, but I'd say the pitcher is most important of these. The most important variables are the shape and using the correct size. The shape because the spout will cause a different flow (pointy vs. wide). And the size, because a small pitcher filled almost to the top will not allow you to get your spout close to the espresso early in the pour. And of course the barista's skill in creating the microfoam.

Why do you think you placed for the finals of the DLA? What did you do to achieve this?
I went in with not too complex patterns, that I knew I would be able to execute quite neatly. For the finals I will have to choose much more complex figures, the stuff the others are doing is complex and very impressive.

What are you looking forward to the most now that you placed for the finals of the DLA?
The look on the face of the girl behind the register at the Supermarket, when I come and buy only 20 cartons of milk.

How are you going to prepare yourself for the finals?
First freestyle a bit to come up with an original pattern, and then repeat it until I can pour it with my eyes closed. I might try a few pitchers I haven't poured with yet to see if they are better or not.

Who is your biggest competition this year?
Logically you'd say it will be Nick, because he placed second last year behind Esther, but the others I saw have also improved a lot. Both Rob and Lennart were also very steady in the preliminary...

Anything you would like to add?
Just that's I'm very excited for the finals!

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Do you want to read about the other finalists? Read about BelleRobMaryseLennart, and Nick.

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