‘I feel like I didn’t choose this coffee; this coffee chose me’

What I Do: Wojciech Tysler will represent Ireland at the World Barista Championships in Athens next week

Wojciech Tysler: 'If you win the worlds, you’re not allowed to compete again – you’re the champ forever.' Photograph: Alan Betson

I’m from Poland. I came to Ireland in 2006 looking for a job. I started working in one of the restaurants on Nassau Street in Dublin, as floor staff because I had no English at all, so I was cleaning the tables.

In Poland I was doing little bit of painting, oil painting. So when I saw the guys doing latte art on the coffees, I felt a connection. I was inspired and started spending more and more time on the coffee machine. I was working as a head barista at the Kilkenny restaurant on Nassau Street for nearly nine years. Then I did my first Irish barista championship competition in 2015, and came third.

After the competition I changed my job and started working as a trainer. Now I am coffee excellence manager with Bewley’s. I look after the key accounts and the quality of the coffee and development of seasonal drinks. We have a Bewley’s training academy on Grafton Street and a big training room in Northern Cross in Dublin 17, where our headquarters are.

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The World Barista Championship is huge. This year, there are 58 countries from all around the world taking part. I won the Irish national championship in February and now I’ll be representing Ireland in Athens next week.


This is going to be my third time on the world stage. The first time was 2019 in Boston and I came 20th from 54 countries. My second time was in Milan in 2021, and I came in the top six, among the finalists. Now, it’s going be my third time on the world stage. So there is big pressure on me. The reigning champion is Anthony Douglas from Australia. He’s not competing any more because in the barista world, if you win the worlds, you’re not allowed to compete again – you’re the champ forever.

Wojciech Tysler, Irish Barista Champion 2019, performing for the judges at the final at the RDS

In the world championships there are three rounds: the qualification round first, then it is the down to 16 people for the semi-final and the final is on the third day. Each competition round takes 15 minutes. There are four sensory judges, the technical judge and the head judge. In the 15 minutes, you need to present your coffee and yourself, you need to serve four espressos and four milk beverages. And then for your signature drink, you can use any ingredients, but you’re not allowed to use alcohol. If you go over time, every second over is one point deducted.

For my signature drink, I’m using three or four different ingredients, all of them fermented in a different way. The coffee is from Colombia, from Oscar Hernandez. I ordered a few samples from different farmers, different bean suppliers and I did a blind tasting. When I tasted his coffee, it was like, ‘Okay, this is it’. I feel a connection with this coffee. I feel like I didn’t choose this coffee; this coffee actually chose me.

Now, there is a big trend for cold brew and iced coffees. It’s huge and it’s going to be even bigger

I have been preparing for the competition for two months, practising every day, finding the coffee, finding the right recipe for the coffee, getting the milk beverages right, getting the right cups. Different cups, different shapes, will make the coffee taste completely different. And then you need to create your speech, your routine, and polish it, going through it over and over again.

To become a good barista you need to love coffee, you need to be into it, the craft of it. Coffee is my lifestyle. If you love coffee and you love chatting with people and being behind the bar, that’s the good barista.

I drink lots of filter coffees, pour-overs, made by different methods, and if it’s from a traditional machine, I drink espresso. Now, there is a big trend for cold brew and iced coffees. It’s huge and it’s going to be even bigger. To make a cold brew coffee, there are a few different methods. To make it at home, if you have a French press, you can grind the coffee a little bit coarser than usual, put the cold water over it, put it in the fridge overnight and the next morning just press it and drink it.

– In conversation with Marie-Claire Digby