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The Road to the World Barista Championships: John Gordon

The Road to the World Barista Championships: John Gordon

Current New Zealand Barista Champion, three-time UK Barista Champion, and previous WBC finalist and semi-finalist, John Gordon, is our next competitor to answer the Best Coffee questions for this years World Barista Championship competitors. You can follow his journey on Instagram: @johngordon09

The WBC competition will take place at the Amsterdam World of Coffee on 21st to 23rd June this year.


When did you fall in love with coffee?

It was when I first started in the industry, on my days off I would go to Saint Ali in Melbourne, which was owned by Mark Dundon at the time. I would get a coffee and sit off to the side, so I could watch the baristas make exceptional coffees. I was so intrigued, and they always had different coffees on the menu. I made sure I tried something different every time. I realized there was so much more to coffee and I wasn’t even scratching the surface.


What was your first coffee job?

I started working in a café in South Melbourne, called icoco. It was a small café and roastery with a 12 kilo PROBAT shop roaster. I started as a barista; it was my first job where I had to get up early, which I wasn’t used to. But I was lucky to be exposed to good coffee from the start.


If you didn’t work in coffee, what would you do?

Growing up, I’d always wanted to be an NBA player. But now if I were going to switch careers, I’d be a police officer.


What exceptional coffee will you be using in the WBCs in Amsterdam? Tell us about the coffee and what it tastes like.

I’ll be using 3 coffees at the WBCs, all from the same processing station in Ethiopia. Two of the coffees are experimental, whole cherry, carbonic maceration lots. The third is a traditional washed processed coffee. They were all sourced by Project Origin.


Who would you most like to make coffee for and why?

All the people who work at the processing station in Ethiopia where my coffee is from.  It would be a great experience to share that with them.


Who would play you in the story of your life?

Jake Gyllenhaal


If you opened a café today, what would be on your first day playlist?

It would be a mix of Bowie, Fink, Led Zepplin, Nick Mulvey and Junip. And, of course, some Yo-Yo Ma.


What’s your favourite way to make coffee?

Batch brew, for the sheer volume and consistency. It’s effortless, fantastic coffee; I make a pot every morning. 


What are you most excited about in coffee?

Tech. I love coffee equipment and tinkering with bits and pieces to make things better and more sustainable. We’ve only just scratched the surface in coffee equipment development and I think we’re decades behind other industries in terms of development. I’m excited about the room for growth and exploration.

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