Each year, baristas from around the world gather at the World Barista Championship. In 2018, it was held in Amsterdam. This was an action-packed 4 days in June filled with competition and great coffee.
Competitors for the World Barista Championship 2018
The competitors every year have completed and won other coffee events. The National Championships are sanctioned by the local Specialty Coffee Associations.
Each competitor that is welcomed to the World Championship has won their local and National Championships. The World Barista Championship in Amsterdam for 2018 was hosted by World of Coffee. They welcome winners from dozens of countries who have competed and won their local competitions.
Random baristas aren’t able to show up to compete at the event basically. The best of the best meets for this competition annually. They are judged based on their technique as well as execution.
The Competition Events
This is a video of the winner as she prepares coffee for the judges. As you’re watching the video, they are talking about her familiarity with the world of coffee competitions and how she’s a master of latte art.
The rounds of judging are very strict. The competitors have to make 12 drinks for the judges. These are 4 espresso-based drinks, 4 milk-based drinks, and finally, their signature drinks. All 12 of these drinks must be prepared in 15 minutes.
The judges are incredibly detail-oriented and precise in their expectations. The baristas can lose points on the smallest of details being wrong. There are 25 pages of rules that the baristas must follow as well as regulations for the event itself.
While the baristas are making the drinks, they’re expected to be entertaining as well as technical in their execution. They get to play music of their choosing while essentially performing for the audience and the judges.
For example, the judges have score sheets with an evaluation matrix. There are grids for each drink that includes things like grams wasted and time spent on extraction. It’ll also cover things like creativity and synergy.
Total scores are calculated to obtain the top score for the event.
Rankings for 2018
The winner of the event was Agnieszka Rojewska from Poland. She came in as an independent. Other competitors were representing their company or employer.
Second place went to Lex Wenneker from the Netherlands. He represented Friedhats Coffee/ESW. Third place was awarded to Mathieu Theis representing Mame from Switzerland.
Fourth place was won by Michalis Katsiavos from Greece representing the Underdog Roasters. Cole Torode from Canada and Rosso Coffee Roasters came in 5th. John Gordon from New Zealand and Gorilla Gear was in 6th place.
The total points given to the winner was 493 while 6th place received 358 points overall.
Sponsors for the Event
Each year, companies are given the honor of sponsoring the event. Their machines and products are used by the participants. For 2018, the machines that were used by the contestants were from Victoria Arduino, Mahlkonig, and Urnex.
Some of the product sponsors were AeroPress, Baratza, Chemex, Hario, and Kalita, which are companies and products we’ve reviewed here on Know Your Grinder.
Previous Year Sponsors
2017 saw the Victoria Arduino company and the Nuova Simonelli espresso machine as the one used by the competitors. In 2016, the company was honored with the top spot, too. That’s been the case for the past few years for espresso machines.
Other sponsors have been exclusively picked for their products and services, too. From water filtration to grinders and cleaning products, there have been dozens of companies picked. Only one for each category, though.
Undoubtedly, these are the best of the best for producing coffee that will impress the judges. Some of the sponsors for the beans themselves have been from places like Bean Brothers and Ediya Coffee.
Career of the Barista
As people continue to dive into the world of specialty coffee, they’re looking for knowledgeable businesses to visit. If you care about your coffee, you don’t want to head to a chain store with drip coffee made by employees who don’t care. You want your coffee made by a barista who is there for more than a paycheck.
As these sorts of competitions gain visibility, they’re giving baristas validation and the ability to find jobs where they’re appreciated. Coffee shops that want to specialize in coffee for the obsessed want to hire baristas who know about preparation and have vast experience.
Final Thoughts on the Competition and Baristas
This is an interesting view into the world of specialty coffee and the skill and dedication that many baristas have in their shops and cafes. They want to provide an experience and be recognized for the care they give the coffee as well as their customers.