On Sunday October 14, a new star was crowned as Coffee Master – New York 2018: Remy Molina of Costa Rica, representing Café Barakah in San José.
Molina fought of 15 of the world’s best baristas over three days of competition at The Metropolitan Pavilion, Manhattan. Having entered the coffee world almost five years ago, behind the bar at a French bakery, he now teaches barista courses for the Specialty Coffee Association of Costa Rica.
At the centre of his victory was the original signature drink he created, named First Impression. Using Costa Rican coffee La Minilla, from one of the country’s best-known coffee regions, the West Valley, he reinterpreted the classic Old Fashioned. Molina’s drink was inspired by the invention of cocktails during New York’s prohibition era and the tricks bartenders used to mask the bad quality of the liqors available to them.
Molina told the crowd, to laughter and applause, that his parents had named him after the cognac, Rémy Martin. As the first old fashioneds used cognac instead of whisky, he infused ground coffee with Rémy Martin VSOP to make the base of his drink. The final result, he says, takes you on a journey from New York to his own roots, where everything is tropical, smooth and coffee is all that matters.
Walking away from New York with a cash prize of $5,000, a prize package worth $15,000 from Slayer Espresso and a grinder from Mahlkonig, Molina is the first barista from Costa Rica, or South America, to claim the prestigious title. The next edition of Coffee Masters will be in London, from 28-31 March 2019. Applications are now open here.