Between May 21-19th the 2° Argentinean Barista Championship was held in Buenos Aires.
After the event, it became clear (at least to me) that the national championships’ rules should be modified, in those countries where the barista profession is not developed, yet. At least the one that applies to the disqualification of any competitor exceeding the 15+1 minutes.
This year only 7 baristas sign in (last year we were 11). From those seven, four were disqualified for exceeding their performance time; consequently the remaining 3 baristas passed to the finals without taking in consideration their scores.
With this rule, it’s possible that a barista serving 12 crappy beverages (with no proper knowledge or techniques), could go to the WBC for his/her country.
It’s really essential that a barista finish his/her performance in due time, or that flaw could be solved with proper training between the national championship and the WBC?
In the barista profession, is really time more important than quality? Than passion and knowledge??
How is this rule helping the development of the barista profession? Is really helping the coffee farming communities to improve their livelihoods?
In Argentine there are thousands of employees making coffee based beverages, but only a few of them are real baristas. World-class equipment (La Marzocco, Mahlkoenig, Compak, Probat, Fetco, etc) and specialty grade coffees, are not available in our market, yet. The 70% of the competitors are home-baristas, just related with coffee for pleasure, and without time or equipment to practice.
It’s really better for these competitors, and their markets to have the same rules (at their local competitions) than more developed markets?
Are these countries really sending their most skilled baristas to the international competitions?
Ok, I know you want to read about the Argentinean Championship, and here is a brief summary:
The competition started last Monday at 12:00hrs with a brunch for the competitors, judges, sponsors, and media.
I was very busy at work (I’m still working as a Foreign Trade Consultant) and I had to rush back to the office when my lunch time was over, and I couldn’t watch any of the 3 competitors of that day.
When I left the office at 18:00hrs (as most of the people working in Buenos Aires), the competition was over for the day.
At 10:00hrs on Tuesday, a Latte Art workshop was conducted by Matias Lama, one of the International Judges. It was free of charge for the competitors, but only one of us could enjoy it, due to the time when it was scheduled.
I was the first barista to perform on Tuesday, but as was still busy at work, I could only take an additional extra hour for lunch. Within those 2 hours, I had my practice session, and my set-up/performance/clean-up time.
During my performance, I realized I was running out of time, but I decided to finish my presentation … I was disqualified.
My blend was specially developed with Establecimiento General de Café for the competition (40% peaberry Santos Brazil, 40% yellow bourbon Brazil, 40% Costa Rica Tarrazu, 40% Papua New Guinea).
My signature drink (Sting) still has the same ingredients: an Argentinean variety of Bishop’s crow red hot chilly pepper, a citric foam, and a cream made of chocolate, dulce de leche and honey), but the technique to make it changed, as well as its taste.
After the clean-up time, I had to rush back to the office and for the second time I couldn’t watch any of the remaining competitors.
When I came back after 18:00hrs to wash my stuff, the competition was over for the day.
On Wednesday I wasn’t so busy at work and could go to the Competition at 10:00hrs for the debriefing, which unfortunately wasn’t made.
The finals started at 12:00hrs. The first competitor was Sofia, who runs a very successful catering service. She got the 2° place.
Then came Maria, Exxon Brew Master Challenge’ Champion, and actual Argentinean Barista Champion (as she got the 1° place).
Finally came Gustavo, a home-barista who came 4th at the 1° Argentinean Barista Championship, last year. Unfortunately he was very nervous and exceeded his performance time.
I’ll be loading the finalist’s videos soon and the final scores (as soon as they are released).
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