Please tell us a little about yourself:
I’m Sarah Elizabeth Ball, a roaster from Toronto, Canada.
How did you get started in coffee?:
I started working in coffee as a barista during university, just to sort of pay the bills and have some extra money. I always found it interesting, and loved the art and science of the whole thing, but the idea was that one day I would get a ‘real job’. Eventually I left the coffee world to work as a full time animator. I missed working in coffee and knew I needed to come back, not really knowing what area of the industry I wanted to go back to, I got myself a job packing in a roastery; so that I could learn more about roasting and I absolutely fell in love. I could no longer possibly imagine myself in any other career.
Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:
2019 Canadian National Cup Tasters Championship – 1st place
What are you excited to do in Berlin?:
Aside from the obligatory café visits, I’m excited to check out the local art scene and visit some galleries. As well as generally taking in the architecture and design of the city itself. What has come out of the divide between the east and the west prior to 1989 created some fascinating architecture. There’s also some really cool skate spots that I’ve been told I must check out, so I’m excited to cruise around the city, hopefully I don’t break anything!
What is your favourite coffee to cup?:
I’m a really big fan of anything natural. You get some really interesting flavours come out of the fermentation that make for some fun profiles, from boozy to earthy. I usually find a lot of comfort and connection with the more boozy-wine flavours; I grew up in a wine making region and my grandfather made natural wines in his cellar.
What are your interests outside of coffee?:
Despite having left the industry as a full time career; I still do a bit of freelance animation/illustration as well as personal projects. I also love skateboarding, BMX, and mountain biking. I’m not very good at any of them, but love it any way.
Where do you see yourself in five years?:
Right now I’m looking at getting my Q grader certification and advancing my roasting career. Within 5 years I would like to work my way into a head roaster position, and start looking into the possibility of saving up to start my own roastery. I want to be a positive influence in our industry for sustainability, fair wages, and equality.
Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognize, or who helped you to prepare for the WCTC?:
I’d like to thank everyone at Monmouth Coffee Company, whom I was working with before moving back home. Especially Jose Aguilar, and Lucy Bray for spending far too much of their personal time helping me set up practice rounds.