The Road to the World Barista Championships: Mathieu Theis
Switzerland's Barista Champion (and previous Swiss champion in 2016), Mathieu Theis, answers our questions as he prepares for the World Barista Championship. You can follow his journey @mathieutheis.
The WBC competition will take place at the Amsterdam World of Coffee on 21st to 23rd June this year.
What was your first coffee job?
Surprisingly my first coffee “job” was to compete in the Swiss Barista Championship. At that time, I was an engineer for Siemens and would make espresso at home. I first competed to see where my level is compared to a professional. 2 years ago, my partner in crime, Emi Fukahori and I both decided to quit our office jobs and opened our coffee shop called MAME in Zurich.
If you didn’t work in coffee, what would you do?
I would have loved to have baked my own baguettes, but what an effort to make one! I admire, unconditionally, all the bakers in the world that give me my favourite food, knowing the effort behind it.
What exceptional coffee will you be using in the WBCs in Amsterdam? Tell us about the coffee and what it tastes like.
I will be using an anaerobic fermentation coffee from La Joya in Costa Rica. It tastes like cinnamon, apple, and raisin. It’s very unique, it’s one of those coffees that you remember all your life.
Who would you most like to make coffee for and why?
I would love to make coffee for Jiro San (one of the best sushi chefs in the world), to be a pretext to meet him and hopefully discuss an entire night around sushi, sake, coffee, and his approach to life. Must be fascinating!
Who would play you in the story of your life?
What a difficult question! I give my joker to this one.
If you opened a cafe today, what would be on your first day playlist?
I would play Beach boys all day starting with “I Get Along.”
What’s your favourite way to make coffee?
Finally, I’m pretty convinced that some of the best coffee experiences I’ve had were during cupping. There is something about cupping that makes it very simple and very tasty.
What are you most excited about in coffee?
I love that our industry always seeks to improve. Every year, I’m waiting like a child for the new crops. And, every year, the magic happens – a new region, variety, or process is discovered. There is always something new and interesting.