Meet the 2018 World Coffee in Good Spirits Champion: Dan Fellows

Dan Fellows

Dan Fellows’ first attempt at the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship (CIGS) in 2012 left him feeling as though he had something to prove.

“[I] finished fourth after having issues with an AeroPress in the finals round,” Dan says. “As I did not feel I delivered my best possible performance that year, this has always left me with a feeling of having unfinished business with CIGS. Becoming World Champion very much feels like redemption.”

This year, Dan dedicated more than 400 hours to competition practice, and says he never felt as comfortable on stage as he did this year due to his thorough preparation.

Dan began developing his drinks in the first half of 2017, with support from his team at Origin Coffee in the United Kingdom, and coach Paul Ross, the 2017 UK CIGS Champion.

For the Spirit Bar, Dan used the supplied Gouveia cachaça to build a cocktail around his journey from London to the World Championships in Brazil.

“I added complementary and contrasting ingredients to the Gouveia cachaça such as cherry, Cascade hops and cascara, which added balance and complexity. I also added a naturally processed Yellow Pacamara from the Mierisch family farm, La Huella, in Nicaragua, which introduced tropical notes to the drink,” Dan says.

In the preliminary round, Dan had to create two warm and two cold alcohol-based designer beverages.

“For my warm designer beverage, A Message from El Salvador, I celebrated the amazing producers in El Salvador whom I am fortunate enough to work with,” Dan says. “The coffee came from Carlos and Patricia Pola and the team at Finca San Antonio. I selected the semi-washed Red Pacamara and paired this with an El Salvadorian rum called Ron Cihuatan.”

The recipes also included molasses, cascara-infused Gouveia cachaça, Pedro Ximenez, and a spiced butter mix.

“The cold designer beverage was called Kyushiki, which translates from Japanese as Old Fashioned,” Dan says. “The drink was built around some amazing Japanese ingredients such as the now-discontinued Hibiki 12-year-old Japanese whisky, Umeshu plum liqueur, Canton jasmine green tea, the sweet green tea notes of the Gouveia cachaça, yuzu juice, and kuro sato – a Japanese black sugar.

“I then rapidly chilled the same San Antonio Red Pacamara to highlight the black plum and lemongrass notes.”

In the final round, Dan crafted Irish coffees that celebrated the tropical flavours of the Caribbean. He brewed the natural processed Yellow Pacamara through a Clever Dripper to build a tropical flavour base, and created a blend of three Speyside whiskies, which contributed to the tropical flavour profile. 

“The drink was finished with double cream from The Estate Dairy which I transported across the world due to its amazing quality and texture,” Dan says.

Learn more about the other 2018 Coffee Champions:

Despite earning the world title, Dan has no intention of ending his CIGS journey and will travel across Europe and Asia to further celebrate how the worlds of coffee and cocktails come together. 

“I have already won the UK CIGS for 2019, which means I will have the opportunity to try to defend my crown next year in Berlin,” he says. 

Image credit: Geórgia Thomé

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