As coffee professionals, you do your best at your place in the coffee chain to ensure that those cherries result in a perfect cup of coffee. You grow the best bean possible - free of all pests and bores, transport it first class on the Concorde - or you sort and roast it using the most technologically advanced machinery and, finally, you hand over your precious product to the last stop on the train - and, usually, the only industry member that interacts directly with the customer - the barista. When he takes over, anything can happen...He pulls an imperfect shot, lets the espresso sit too long, or steams the milk until it vaporizes...thus destroying your otherwise perfect coffee. So a new barista shows up....will she have the correct training and passion to perform her culinary brewing arts or are you going to be badly brewed out of business?
So don’t forget, this skilled laborer is no cashier. The barista is an artist, a coffee jockey who will pass on a perfect beverage to the coffee lover. He or she is a chef - a dash of syrup here and a dash or nutmeg here. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) have taken great strides in promoting and educating the barista. Whether it be in the U.S. or the Netherlands, Australia or Italy, a career as a barista has become one of the most popular professions in the coffee industry. In fact, an internet survey recently conducted in Norway found that coffee bar operator was voted as the fourth trendiest job among today’s youth.
This month, our correspondent, Dahlia Damaghi, discusses what it takes to be the best barista and the tournaments one can enter, hone skills and win, win, win! These days, barista competitions are keeping the standards high for the men and women who work behind the coffee bar. This year on June 14-16 in Oslo, Norway, the 3rd Annual World Barista Championship will be held by the SCAE at their conference and exhibition. At this tournament, top baristas from around the world will show off their drink-making skills in front of an international panel of judges. Areas of assessment include Taste Evaluation, Beverage Presentation, Barista Technique, and Personal Presentation. Baristas must make their drinks within a 15 minute time frame, and be able to communicate with the judges, presenter and audience.
The innovativeness of the SCAE will be remembered for years to come. We salute them, and all of the baristas out there for bringing coffee to the masses in such an artful and respectful form. Thank you for your passion.
Editor & Co-Publisher
Tea & Coffee - June/July, 2002
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