When a young Ethiopian goatherd stumbled upon a cherry-like berry that seemed to make his goats more energetic than normal, no one could have imagined how that simple berry (actually a bean) would change the world.
I’m talking about coffee.
From the time it was discovered, coffee has evolved in more ways than one. From methods of preparation, combinations, and even tools used to brew it. With a booming billion-dollar industry revolving around it, coffee is not going anywhere soon. In fact, with scientific evidence proving its health benefits, it’s only set to grow.
Not only is the coffee industry keeping our taste buds tantalized and our minds alert, it’s also keeping multitudes entertained. With many coffee houses and even more professional baristas emerging, it is only inevitable that a tournament to separate the boys from the real baristas be held.
That tournament is the “World Barista Championship”.
The World Barista Championship – In Pursuit of Coffee Excellence
The WBC is an international tournament organized by World Coffee Events (WCE). According to the WCE website, their mission is “to develop events that engage the specialty coffee community and promote coffee excellence. Founded in 2011 by joint cooperation of the Specialty Coffee Associations of Europe and America, World Coffee Events is the premier producer of events for the coffee community and licenses over 60 championships involving thousands of participants worldwide.”
In their effort to promote coffee excellence, the WCE came up with the World Barista Championship in 2011. This is where the best brews and baristas are rewarded. The spectators? They get rewarded too, with exhilarating displays of skill by baristas from all over the globe.
Each year, the tournament draws competitors and spectators from the four corners of the earth. And each year it grows bigger and bigger. The 2017 tournament had more than 60 contenders from all over the world. Each a champion in their own country, or in some instances, specially designated.
The competitors each prepare 4 espressos, 4 milk drinks, and 4 original signature drinks to stringent standards. Each competitor is given 15 minutes to showcase their skills and the ambiance is livened by entertaining music. Contestants are judged according to cleanliness, creativity, technical skill, and overall presentation.
The United States Barista Championship 2017
Seattle, Washington. 36 of the country’s top baristas. 3 days. 15 minutes each to prove their worth. It couldn’t get tenser than this. The pressure whittled down the 36 to 18 and then 6. The 6 being:
- Josh Taves of Novo Coffee, Denver, CO;
- Kyle Ramage of Mahlkonig USA, Durham, NC;
- Talya Strader of Equator Coffee & Teas, San Francisco, CA;
- Samuel Lewontin of Everyman Espresso, New York, NY;
- Andrea Allen of Onyx Coffee Lab, Springdale, AR
- Bethany Hargrove of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, San Francisco, CA
With all eyes on them, the pressure was now even greater. Despite that, they didn’t fail to rouse the enthralled crowd as Kyle Ramage brewed his way to victory; securing his ticket to the World Barista Championships. Though it was his first time winning the United States Barista Championship, Kyle is no stranger to the competition, having participated at regional and national levels in previous years.
The 2017 United States champ made history by being the first champ from a non-coffee making establishment. Hailing from the coffee equipment manufacturing company, Mahlkonig, he proved that the company certainly knows what coffee is all about.
And so off to Seoul, Korea it was for the United States Barista Champ.
WBC Results for 2017
The 2017 World Barista Championship was hosted by Cafe Show in Seoul, South Korea from the 9th to the 12th of November 2017. Competing in an electrically charged atmosphere, the participants didn’t fail to wow the crowd and impress the judges. Tough as it was for the judges to determine the winner, excellence spoke for itself when Dale Harris of the United Kingdom was crowned world champion barista of 2017.
The results of the competition were as follows:
Champion Barista: Dale Harris – United Kingdom
2nd place: Miki Suzuki – Japan
3rd place: Kapo Chiu – Hong Kong
4th place: Ben Put – Canada
5th place: Hugh Kelly – Australia
6th place: Kyle Ramage – United States
For an equipment supplier to make it into the top 6 baristas in the world, Kyle Ramage was truly set on breaking records. Well done Kyle!
World Barista Championship 2018 – Already Brewed to Perfection
As the coffee industry continues to grow and baristas continue with their innovative brews, the WBC is bound to only get tastier. With preparations for the 2018 tournament already underway, excitement is already building up. Book your place for this year’s tournament and experience this phenomenal event in the flesh. The dates and venue? 20th to 23rd June 2018 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.