15 Feb 2016

2016 Dutch Barista Championship - The Finalists - Vincent Zwaan

The Amsterdam Coffee Festival is happening in March 2016. It will host the Dutch Barista Championships. Who will get to represent the Netherlands in Dublin during the World Barista Competition? One of the competitors is Vincent (Vinni) Zwaan, representing Bocca Coffee Roasters.

How did you prepare for the barista competition preliminary rounds?

Collecting people around me that all have different skills they excel at. It takes a good team to win.

How did you choose a coffee bean?

We did a blind cupping to find my favourite bean. Since my presentation was about flavor description, this year i looked for a coffee with a combination of bright easy to recognise characteristics and somethings that jumps out to surprise the judges. I wanted somethings that is easy notes but still be exciting.

How did you develop your milk based drink?

Pull Shot. Add Milk. Pull Shot. Add Less Milk. Repeat till acidity became to "present". Go back 1 step.

How did you develop your signature drink?

Ah man. I used to have so much trouble with them, but now I love making signatures, but you gotta have so much patience. So to make sure no time got lost I only used ingredients that could be found walking distance. The first plan was to just make something tasty. The rule was if we wouldn't serve it in the bar it wasn't good enough. A lot of hours went by and we reached that tastiness, but it wasn't exciting to serve. So a week before the competition I re-evaluated and mixed it up so it would be tasty, fun to serve drink that complimented my presentation. It became the part I am most proud off this preliminaries

How do you feel about the change from cappuccino to a milk based drink and did you use this change to your advantage?

It's a good one! The Ethiopian coffee I used would've been such a drag if I had to wash it away with the amount of milk a cappuccino has. It makes it so much more easy when selecting coffee, but it takes more time searching for the right amount of milk, and then find the right size cups. Definitely looking forward do spend more time perfecting this.

What is the hardest part about competing or preparing to compete?

Sleep. I get so hyped up about it that I can't sleep well. So many ideas come at night.

What is the easiest part?

Coffee. I love playing around with coffee.

How are you going to make sure you win the national finals?

I have an awesome team, you can't win these things alone.
Anything you would like to add?

Shout out to Belle, Julia, Wouter, Viola, Harley, Jasper, Jaap, Yakup, Ivo, Mieke, Ilithyia and Dirk for helping me. Much love.

Read the other interviews with the finalists of the Dutch Barista Competition.

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