A 29-year-old Costa Rican was named the world’s best coffee taster in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Thursday.
Juan Gabriel Cespedes beat out 36 other coffee tasters from around the world to become the first Latin American to win the 2015 World Cup Tasters Championship, an annual challenge hosted by World Coffee Events.
“I believe that my experience helped me manage it very well and not let me get down at any time during the quarterfinals, semifinals or the final. Thanks to this, and God, today I’m World Champion,” Cespedes said, according to a statement from the Costa Rican National Coffee Institute (ICAFE).
Competitors must use their sense of smell and taste to pick out slight differences in the coffees they taste as quickly as possible to win the championship. Eight sets of three coffees are presented to each cupper, two of which are the same. The taster must identify the most “odd” cups of the coffee faster than their rivals to advance, according to the WCE rules.
Cespedes won the final round with a perfect score, beating out Mateusz Petlinki of Germany, Krisse McGregor of New Zealand, and Yoeri Joosten from the Netherlands.
This was Cespedes’ third appearance at the competition. In 2013, Cespedes reached the semifinal round but did not advance.
Cespedes got his start in coffee as a quality control taster at ICAFE’s research center in Barva, Heredia.