The young lady with a passionate smile is Jeon Joo-yeon,… the winner of the 2019 World Barista Championship.
She came first out of 2,5-hundred contenders from over 50 countries in Boston last month,… becoming not only the first South Korean to win the prestigious award, but also the second women to win the title.
Her dedication to coffee making began around ten years ago, but even then, she dreamed of being the best in the world.
"At that time, people saw baristas as part-timers rather than a professional job. But when I saw the previous WBC videos, I realized that such career could also be respected by many people. Ever since then, I dreamed of standing on the world stage.
At the previous edition of the World Barista Championship in Amsterdam, Jeon finished in 14th place. But when she entered this year, she tried a slightly different approach, trying to show coffee's magnetism by delivering her presentation with geniune passion, sitting on the table addressing the judges like they had gone out for a casual cup of coffee together.
"The presentation contained a lot of scientific terms which were unfamiliar to many people. So in order to get closer to everyone, I came up with the idea of creating a much more friendly atmosphere when presenting my coffee."
For her winning routine, Jeon chose to focus on how carbohydrates affect the flavor balance experienced when drinking coffee. And to smoothly explain all of these scientific terms to judges in English, she traveled to the UK for 3 months.
"No one can be perfect in English in two or three months. But since I am representing my country on the world stage, I wanted to at least get rid of the fear of speaking English to others."
For Jeon, coffee is energy. Not just from because it's full of caffeine, but also because she heard numerous times from her customers how refreshed and recharged they felt after drinking her coffee.
Becoming the barista world champion wasn't luck or magic. It was Jeon's positive energy towards the judges and crowds, which she has been practicing in Korea's southern city of Busan since 2009.
Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News, Busan.