If you’re like the rest of us, your day will never be complete without a warm cup of espresso to brighten up the mood. Sure, you can last a day without your usual cup, but you have to admit something doesn’t feel right if you don’t get a sip of those aromatic flavors before going to the office. Few things can top that fresh brew from your usual coffee place prepared for you by your usual barista.
You may not acknowledge it, but your barista has a lot of impact on your coffee experience. From the tools and methods they use to prepare your drink to the presentation, these professionals make your coffee shop visit a holistic experience. This is what the organizers of the World Barista Championship want to promote on a competitive stage.
Promoting Barista Competence Around The World
The World Barista Championship (WBC) is a yearly barista competition that takes place in a different city and country each year. It aims to market specialty coffee and become an avenue for coffee lovers to meet and interact.
This is made possible by the efforts of the World Coffee Events (WCE), an event management organization based in Dublin, Ireland. This organization was formed in 2011 by the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) and the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), which is collectively known as the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). The WBC is one of the many initiatives that the WCE has taken on. Other programs spearheaded by the WCE include the World Cup Tasters Championship and the World Latte Art Championship.
World Barista Championship – Recognizing the World’s Best in Coffee Making
How does the competition unfold? It starts with the national barista championships organized by SCA chapters or a legitimate non-profit national organization around the world. From the national winners, the top 15 competitors will advance to the semi-final round which may also include a wildcard placing.
The semi-finals will happen on the third day of the WBC. The list of competitors will be narrowed down further into 6 as they advance to the final round, which will take place on the fourth day. The final round is where each barista will prepare a 15-minute routine that will showcase to the judges their skills in preparing 3 types of drinks: espresso, milk beverages, and ‘signature beverages’ (non-alcoholic espresso-based cocktail). Most of the time, the baristas will use the same routine throughout the competition.
The criteria for judging will be based on a variety of factors. This will not only involve the taste and balance of the beverages but their presentation as well. A dedicated technical judge will look out for the technique and cleanliness of the routines. Baristas who obtain the highest, cumulated score will advance to the next round. And finally, the barista who gets the highest score during the final round will bag the crown.
Looking Back at WBC 2018
From being dominated by Scandinavian bartenders since it started in Monte Carlo, Monaco in 2000, the WBC has reached 57 participants from different countries around the world as of 2018. This included our very own Geetu Mohnani, India’s representative when the event was held in Amsterdam on June 2018.
This bright-eyed woman from Delhi became the champion for Starbucks National Barista Championship India 2016 and bagged the third place for Starbucks Barista Championship CAP 2017 before taking on the WBC.
She has been in the coffee industry for 4 years and enjoys visiting different farms in India and meeting people who share her love for coffee. India is the sixth largest coffee producer in the world. Most of this coffee is produced in farms in the southern states of the country, the most important of which are in Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
Aside from Geetu, another notable participant in WBC 2018 is Agnieszka Rojewska from Poland. Her amiable and smooth performance during the finals led her not only to win the WBC 2018 champion title, but she also became the first female barista to do so. Her coffee journey started with her love for latte art, from which she developed an appreciation of the distinct flavors of different coffee beans. She has joined numerous barista championships before joining the WBC.
Get Ready for WBC 2019
Currently, the stage has been set for the WBC 2019 which is scheduled on April 11 to 14 in Boston, Massachusetts. It is estimated that 100 hopeful participants will be joining at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, which also happens to be the venue for the 2019 SCA Specialty Coffee Expo and the 2019 World Brewers Cup.
As for the competition flow, it is the same as last year with the addition of the WBC Teams Competition, which aims to develop collaboration among the participants.
The National Barista Competition in India has just finished, by the way. The preliminary round was held from February 12th to 14th in Bengaluru. The semifinals and finals concluded in February 16th and 17th. The competition judges headed by Emma Markland, a World Coffee Events international representative.
The competition was fierce but, finally, the winner was declared. Representing India on the worldwide stage is the National Barista Competition winner – Mr. Santhosh Santhu. All the best for the participants of this April’s WBC competition!