Being a barista…as a sport

Wow…many things happening lately! So much coffee, so much learning! I got acquainted with so many coffee people here in Zurich it’s unbelievable!

And there is serious preparation going on among the competitors in the Coffee Championship in the beginning of February. Wait…there are exactly ten days left, 10 days! But there’s no room for panic. Everybody is working hard and the competition is going to be tough. You have to have a certain amount of courage to compete. And not only that but faith, patience, toughness, ambition and the list gets longer and longer. I can only admire the people who take part in barista competitions and wish to be like them someday.

I’d like to point out that working as a barista and competing as one are two different things. It’s one thing when you’re working behind the espresso machine, interacting with customers, living up to their expectations for excellent service, showing real hospitality whilst the stress (which is somehow proportional to the length of the queue out the door) and another when you’re on stage – you’re being under judges’ scrutiny, everything is timed to the last second, you feel your heart trying to get out of your rib cage (direction changes as you perform) and you’re slightly worried about your latte art designs, because your hands suddenly have become a bit too shaky than expected. You might have the stage for 15 minutes and along with that an experience you’re most likely to remember quite some time. It’s not so much about winning, but learning and enjoying. I think the whole process of coming up with your latte art designs or with your signature drink is very creative and all these baristas competing are actually contributing to the global coffee industry.  At the end nothing is lost, you can only learn from your mistakes (that’s why it’s good to go through your scoresheets afterwards).

Being a barista is a very young “sport”. And I think there’s a lot of room for development and change of its rules and regulations, so that it can be attractive even for the general public. But I guess that will come with time, till then go create some new latte art patterns.

Anyway, there are going to be 4 categories – Barista, Latte Art, Brewers Cup and Cup Tasting and from the three days it looks like the second is going to be the most intense, because that’s when the Barista and Latte Art finals will be. Exciting, right? So, the Swiss Coffee Championships are going to take place from 7th to 9th of February in St. Gallen along with a Holiday Fair, so please make sure you’re in the right hall, which will be No.2. See you there!

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