If you are one of the millions of hard-core coffee lovers and/or freaks around the world (like me), you will be aware that the world is currently in Coffee Championship mode. Baristas have been selecting beans, training, sipping and perfecting their espressos for months. Their eyes set on the World Barista Championship in Dublin in June. Latte Art Baristas have been creating, pouring and working on shaking their nerves rather than shaking the actual cup, as they aim for the World Latte Art Championship in Shanghai in March.
The Coffee Championships are not for the weak. It takes passion, determination, a hunger to find the perfect bean, cup and performance. They have the worlds latest and best equipment at their fingers tips. But one of the most important and winning factors is a supporting, fun and knowledgeable team that is and will be there for the entire journey.
On February 14 in St Gallen, coffee lovers of Switzerland gathered to witness the SCAE Swiss Coffee Championship Finals. While cupid was sharpening his bow, Baristas in both Barista and Latte Art finals were fighting nerves, excitement and making final tweaks to their performance. The 2015 Champions, Emi Fukahori (Barista) and Milo Kamil (Latte Art) were not on the side line, they were both getting ready to compete for a consecutive year! Who would take over their crowns? Could they do it again? Would all the participants be on time? Would the Latte Art Baristas make it through the whole performance without spilling a drop of milk? When do I get to try the coffee? What if the milk runs out? What if the grinder breaks? What if my nail breaks from biting it? Ok, so maybe I was also a little nervous and excited for my friends who were competing. I think you get the picture.
It wasn’t only Cupid playing with his equipment on this day. There were loads of new gadgets being used in the performances (keep it clean please!) The coolest for me, as an Aussie, was the presence on stage of a little piece of equipment called OCD – Ona Coffee Distributor, created by current World and Australian Barista Champion Sasa Sestic. It almost bought tears to my eyes to see it in action. Very cool!
Almost 7 hours of coffee final action! Impressive performances, some of the worlds best baristas and of course, the highest quality specialty coffee. Bets were places on who would win first, second and third places in both competitions. For me it was clear, and for once in my life, I won! (where’s my prize?)
As announced to Switzerland and the world, the 2016 Barista Champion is Mathieu Theis and Latte Art Champion, Milo Kamil. Both are not only dedicated, professional, fun and motivated, they are also fabulous people and friends (and they drink prosecco!). We wish them every success as they now get back into training mode for the World Champions in March and June.
Thanks to all the participating baristas, roasteries, sponsors and coffee fans for the awesome experience! See you at the World Barista final in Dublin! And Milo – don’t worry, we’ll be watching you in Shanghai on Live Stream.