Less than one month ago, Mexico City’s Carlos de la Torre took home the Coffee Masters title at The Los Angeles Coffee Festival. We catch up with him and find out what it was like winning this prestigious competition and how he prepared for it. Plus, we ask Carlos some bonus questions that we received from the Coffee Masters Instagram page.
Congrats on winning Coffee Masters! The competition was tough and the days were long… how did it feel to see your name pop up on the screen when the winner was announced?
Honestly the first thing that caught my mind was, “Yaaaayy we did it!!” and then… “wait, I hope they didn’t put up the wrong name cuz this is awesome!”
What was the most challenging part of the competition?
The challenge for me was that I had no time to train for Coffee Masters except for a few latte art pours, so I went based on my daily work and to be honest, I don’t cup a lot of origins or make complex latte art patterns so for me the challenge was putting my skills against extremely experienced coffee professionals.
Do you have any funny stories or moments from the competition that you’d like to share?
Haha, a lot! But one of my favorites was carrying my “Overnight Espresso” all around little Tokyo and downtown in a disposable cup after my practice with Slayer. I didn’t know if I’ll have the chance to pull more shots later and it was my backup!
If you had to have only one coffee (bean, roaster, brew method) for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I guess it would be Wojtek Białczak’s Eugenoides from Inmaculada in cupping.
How long did you prepare for Coffee Masters and what advice do you have for someone looking to apply?
This year was a busy and stressful one for me so I didn’t have time to train like I wanted to, but I’ve been preparing over the last 10 years by getting involved in every aspect of coffee that I can, learning and going deeper into every detail. The best advice I can give is to question everything, get your own answers, demand to yourself the highest standards when doing your part of the coffee chain, be honest and try to be the best version of you every day.
What do you think about doing a Coffee Masters edition of all the previous champs against each other?
It would be amazing, I’d love to be part of that!!
If you were on a reality series (real housewives) what coffee shop would you go to to confront your friend who you heard said something about you and why?
I would just brew them something nice at my home, or in case we need to go out, I’ll choose the worst coffee shop I can. I’ll ask for a decaf filter coffee for me and then I would say something like, “Ew! This coffee is so lame, just like your friendship.”