World Barista Championship: Five things you need to know
A good barista is like a guru of the coffee-making world. A veritable artist of coffee. And we’re not talking about those clever designs in your cappuccino foam — although, let’s face it, that is art and they can do that too — we’re talking world-class coffee preparation by professionals.
These are the kind of people who strutted their stuff at the World Barista Championship, which took place in Dublin, Ireland from June 22nd to 25th.
It’s like the Olympics of coffee.
We’re talking top-level, full on gladiatorial combat between baristas. That is, if gladiatorial combat was carried out with coffee beans and a top-of-the-line espresso machine.
So, what do you need to know about the World Barista Championships?
- Can I enter? I mean, I make a reasonable cup of coffee…
Let’s put it this way — simply being the one who does the coffee run at work is not going to cut it. This is for the coffee-making crème de la crème.
- What do you have to do to be a champion barista?
Competitors have to prepare four espressos, four milk beverages and four of your own ‘signature’ coffees showcasing your own skill and creativity.
All to the judges exacting standards.
In 15 minutes. To music.
You get the picture — these guys are professionals.
- What’s a ‘milk beverage’?
It used to be the cappuccino round, but it changed this year to open things up a little. The rules say a milk beverage is a shot of espresso with steamed cow’s milk that’s less than 240ml in volume.
The change seems to have been well received by fans of the competition who think it allows for more creativity.
- Who’s the World Champion?
The winner of the 2016 World Championship was Berg Wu, from Taiwan. He used washed Geisha coffee beans from Finca Deborah, in Panama.
Wu beat out 61 other champions from across the world for the well-deserved title.
- What else are the judges looking for?
First up, the judges are looking for technical ability, including the ability to communicate about the coffee you’re making.
But they’re also looking for knowledge and great coffees. And, according to the rules, they want to see that the barista is “a role model and a source of inspiration for others”.