After winning the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship (WCiGS) in Brazil 2018, Dan Fellows was already developing his WCiGS routine for 2019 in Berlin, Germany.
“After winning in 2018, I already knew what I wanted to present in the 2019 routine. I was immensely proud and excited by the concept,” says Dan.
“Almost everyone has asked me why I would take such a huge risk and enter a world championship I won previously, but I always believed that I would regret not showcasing the routine more than doing so and risking not winning. This belief pushed me to deliver the routine as well as I possibly could.”
Dan began developing his drinks in early 2018 with the support of Carlos and Patricia Pola from Juayua in El Salvador.
“I tried to ensure the drinks and routine for 2019 were totally different to 2018. I had a specific focus on their visual appearance, which I wanted to be impactful but elegant,” Dan says.
The routine was designed to explore where to start when designing coffee cocktails. People always ask Dan that question, but he states that there is no one fixed starting point in his experience.
“I served two drinks, which were inspired by a concept [Frozen Natural Experiment and Zero Waste Shrub] and two which used the characteristics of coffees to recreate memorable experiences [Bonfire Toddy and Sticky Toffee-inspired Irish Coffee],” he explains.
The Frozen Natural Experiment utilised an experimental coffee processing method inspired by two of his favourite ingredients – ice wine and blood oranges.
“Both of these give distinctive characteristics from cold temperatures. Blood oranges develop the blood red colour and raspberry-like sweetness when they reach cold temperatures overnight. Ice wine is made from squeezing grapes which have frozen,” Dan says. “This inspired me to explore the effect of freezing temperatures on coffee.”
To achieve this effect, Dan approached Carlos and Patricia who froze Red Pacamara coffee cherries for seven days before natural processing.
“The resultant cup profile was very sweet and had flavour notes of raspberry and tropical, which worked perfectly in the drink when paired with ice wine, Glenfiddich Winter Storm [finished in ice wine casks], blood orange ice, malic acid, and cascara syrup,” Dan says.
In the final round Dan was awarded a score of 355, enough to win the title and claim victory for a second year.
“It’s an absolute honour to be the first back-to-back WCiGS Champion,” Dan says. “There were a lot of emotions. I always knew it was either brave or stupid to try and defend the championship. I was incredibly pleased and thankful it ended up so well.”
Looking to the future, Dan hopes to inspire and support baristas and bartenders who are thinking of competing or looking to improve their skills in cafés and bars.
“I plan to help as many people as I can in the coming years, through seminars, masterclasses, pop-up bars, coaching, and beyond,” he says. “I am immensely fortunate to be in such a privileged position. I cannot wait to share my experiences and excitement for coffee cocktails as far and wide as possible.”
This article appears in FULL in the August edition of BeanScene Magazine. Subscribe HERE.