Photos: Lanny Huang
What is your current occupation and employer?
I have worked at MOMOS COFFEE in Busan for 13 years. I am in charge of coffee education.
List all the national and world coffee competitions you have competed in.
2019 World Barista Championship 1st place
2019 Korean Barista championship 1st place
2018 World Barista Championship Semi-finalist (14th place)
2018 Korean Barista Championship 1st place
2015 Korean Barista Championship 3rd
2014 Korean Barista Championship 2nd
2013 Korean Barista Championship 2nd
2011 Korean Barista Championship Semi-finalist
2010 Korean Barista Championship Semi-finalist
When and how did you decide to pursue a career in coffee?
There is not a special moment that I became barista.
I just started working in coffee as a part-time job in MOMOS COFFEE in 2007, when I was university student as a major in social welfare. At that time, I was getting interested in this job as I working at the bar. So it is very natural course for me to become barista
How did you first decide to compete in a coffee competition?
In 2009, I first found out about the WBC. WBC 2009 was very special moment for me. When I saw the presentations, I was very impressed. At that time, their emotions and attitudes seemed to be wonderful for me. So I wanted to be there as them. After this dream, my passion for specialty coffee has been higher.
What’s the best piece of coffee-related advice you’ve received?
Keep going! Try and try again until you succeed
It's my boss's advice. This is not coffee-related advice. However, this simple idea has influenced me the most.
How far in advance did you start training for WBC? How many hours a week do you train?
I spent six months training for this WBC. After the presentation was completed, I practiced for six hours every day.
What was your experience like as the first time on the World Barista Championship stage last year in Amsterdam?
My first WBC last year was with ‘the endless tension’.
At that time, I wanted to show everything I had, because it would be the chance of a lifetime.
That made me feel so much burden. I didn’t enjoy preparing for WBC at all.
What is different about your performance, preparation or mindset for this year’s WBC in Boston?
It was different from last year. I have changed my mindset and didn’t care about other’s attention and focused on what I can do now. This mindset made me more comfortable and enjoying preparation everyday. I felt even more comfortable when arriving in Boston, because I already had the same experience last year and could foresee what will be happen in competition. So the ‘trial and error’ at big competition is important.
What is the funniest or most memorable moment you have experienced behind the bar?
It's a story of a colleague who works with me.
It was a very busy time. Because of the confusion, she poured water into the grinder instead of coffee. It was a serious situation, but we burst into laughter.
What is your favorite brew method at home?
Filter coffee with Kalita wave dripper
Describe the importance of cleaning or clean equipment in making the best coffee beverages.
I think it's the most basic barista's job in serving the specialty coffee to a customer.
If it the equipment is not clean, the meaning of serving special coffee is meaningless.
What is your favorite Urnex product and why?
Grindz. Cleaning the grinder is easy and efficient without disassembly.
What is unique about coffee culture in your country?
In Korea, most people enjoy drinking specialties coffee as well as ice coffee.
I think it's a way to enjoy many kinds of flavors.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I will still be affiliated with Momos Coffee. And I will be active in many coffee origins.