This past weekend (Saturday November 11, Sunday November 12), over 60 competitors from 58 nations all over the world competed in the World Barista Championship in Seoul, Korea. An international competition for those who make coffee their passion, this was none of your typical Starbucks coffee. These professionals can work up to 60 hour weeks leading to a competition, where participants have 15 minutes to prepare four espressos, four cappuccinos/milk drinks, and four signature drinks for judges.
During this time, they are judged intensively in many different categories, such as their confidence, style and ease, as well as how they explain their drinks to the judges and if they finish under the allotted time or not. A tiny spill, or not enough of an explanation on a drink served? Points docked. Stumble with a few words, or presentation a few seconds more than 15 minutes? More points docked. Not to mention the quality of the drinks themselves. Certain taste notes, flavor profiles, and aromas are critical, and even the slightest mistake in anything can result in disaster (point wise). If the participant doesn’t explain to the judges how he/she wants them to drink the presented coffee, guiding them through the experience, he/she can lose many valuable points. They are even judged on what music they play in the background and what they wear. Presentation is everything.
This year, Canadian Ben Put came in fourth overall, this being his fourth WBC. Put introduced a geisha flavour profile based presentation, exploring the concepts of processing and how it changes the coffee.
The World Barista 2017 Champion is Dale Harris from the United Kingdom. He did his presentation on the aromatic compounds of coffee, and how they affect the ways we see coffee.
If you want to watch some of the competitors and their presentations, you can check out this link: