Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Barista competitions

Recommended Posts

In a "SERVICE" thread in DC/DelMarVa forum Bux asked the following question

I'm wondering exactly what's involved in the presentation of the espresso in the competition. Is it something that can really be learned from a world class restaurant, or is it mostly about the appearance of the coffee in the cup. Do they judge the quality of the china cup and the way the sugar is packaged and presented? Is the coffee brought to the judge's table by a server or is it a matter of stepping up to the bar. I wouldn't expect a barista to be judged by more than the appearance of the coffee in the cup and somehow, I'd expect the rules of the contest to specifiy a standard cup and elminate those other factors that are more about the elegance and luxury of the setting. Tell me more.

Here's a place to start...

Specialty Coffee Association 2005 Barista Competition press release

Most of the pertinent details providing a high level overview are available there.

I'll start by commenting on the question of

Is it something that can really be learned from a world class restaurant

In a word - no. The reason being that the highest quality espresso and espresso based drinks being prepared and served around the world today are coming from independent cafes and coffeehouses. I have yet to hear of a restaurant, even one operating at the highest levels of price and quality, that offers truly outstanding world-class espresso. Perhaps the two are mutually exclusive without some fundamental shifts in attituide and perception occurring?

There is sometimes a tendency here at eG to discuss the coffee/espresso experience in the context of fine dining. Wouldn't it seem that the only way a true world-class barista experience could be delivered in a fine dining setting would be if a separate espresso/coffee lounge was provided that guests to could retire to after their meal? I should think that the noise of milk steaming, the on/off of the espresso machine's pump and many other factors would preclude having the actual espresso prep area within the dining room.

Additionally, we might consider the issues of presentation and speed of serving. Straight espresso itself is a fragile drink with a short window of time in which to truly appreciate its wonders. Properly made milk based drinks such as a tradtional cappuccino or even specialty drinks typically are best served within no more than a minute or two (literally) of their preparation.

On a separate note.... apart from encouraging young people to pursue careers and providing an incentive for skills development... do the Barista Competitions serve a higher purpose? Are they at present or could they, properly publicized and promoted, become an important vehicle for educating the public about the exciting changes that have taken place in espresso culture just within the past few years? If so how might this be accomplished?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Interesting article here on 'world's best barista' championship.

"...Poulsen’s signature drink, called ESB for “enhanced sensory balance,” mixed pepper, espresso and lavender..."

15 timeframe includes cleanup - pretty stringent!


"When you look at the face of the bear, you see the monumental indifference of nature. . . . You see a half-disguised interest in just one thing: food."

Werner Herzog; NPR interview about his documentary "Grizzly Man"...

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 timeframe includes cleanup - pretty stringent!

they actually got 15 minutes to clean (plus 15 to prep and 15 to make the drinks), but most cleaned in about 5 mins. clearly, one element the technical judges were watching was whether the station remained clean *during* the drink-making -- perhaps as a true sign of comfort and skill behind the bar.

many of the finalists finished their 12 drinks well shy of the 15 minutes; i think the Dane was done in about 13.

since watching the competition, i've been second-guessing my espresso shots at home all week.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
15 timeframe includes cleanup - pretty stringent!

since watching the competition, i've been second-guessing my espresso shots at home all week.

You got to watch?!!? *jealous*

I've only been in one latte art competition, but I've never gotten more intelligent questions from the customers than I did right afterwards. It was pretty eye- opening.

In short, yes, I think these competitions can be useful in educating the public about the difference between a Barista and a latte-slinger. :biggrin:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Objective Foodie
      During the past year, our coffee consumption at home has increased substantially. We have tried beans from different roasteries from the UK and Europe, but we are constantly in the search of new ones. The speciality coffee market has been rapidly increasing in past years and it is becoming easier to find high quality beans.
      The best roasteries we have tried so far:
      UK based: Round Hill Roastery, Square Mile, Monmouth,  Pharmacie, New Ground, Workshop, James Gourmet, Ozone. Europe based: The Barn (Germany), Gardelli (Italy), Hard Beans (Poland), Calendar (Ireland), Roasted Brown (Ireland), Right Side (Spain), Coffee Collective (Denmark).  
      Have you had any exciting coffee beans lately? Do you have any other recommendations?
    • By Kasia
      After waking up, most of us head towards the kitchen for the most welcome morning drink. Coffee opens our eyes, gets us up and motivates us to act. Today I would like to offer you a healthy alternative to daily morning coffee. I don't want to turn you off coffee completely. After all, it has an excellent aroma and fantastic flavor. There isn't anything more relaxing during a busy day than a coffee break with friends.

      In spite of the weather outside, change your kitchen for a while and try something new. My green cocktail is also an excellent way to wake up and restore energy. Add to it a pinch of curcuma powder, which brings comfort and acts as a buffer against autumn depression.

      Ingredients (for 2 people):
      200ml of green tea
      4 new kale leaves
      1 green cucumber
      half an avocado
      1 pear
      1 banana
      pinch of salt
      pinch of curcuma

      Peel the avocado, pear and banana. Remove the core from the pear. Blend every ingredient very thoroughly. If the drink is too thick, add some green tea. Drink at once.

      Enjoy your drink!

    • By Kasia
      Even though I would like to change the situation, the winter is coming. Sooner or later there will be sharp winds, frost and unpleasant moisture. I don't know how you like to warm up at home, but on the first cold day I dust off my home recipe for hot and yummy winter teas.

      You can use my recipe or come up with your own proposals for fiery mixtures. Only one thing should be the same: your favourite tea must be strong and hot.

      Ingredients (for 2 teas)
      8 cloves
      a piece of cinnamon
      2 grains of cardamom
      4 slices of orange
      2 teaspoons of honey
      your favourite tea
      50ml of raspberry juice or 30ml of raspberry juice and 30ml of raspberry liqueur
      Add 4 of the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom to some water and boil for a while to release their flavour and aroma. Remove the seasoning and brew the tea with this water. Crush two slices of orange with honey. Add the raspberry juice or a mixture of juice and liqueur to the tea. Next add the honey with orange. Mix it in. Decorate the tea with the rest of the cloves and orange.

      8 cloves
      3 slices of fresh ginger
      2 grains of cardamom
      50ml of ginger syrup or 30ml of ginger syrup and 30ml of ginger-lemon liqueur
      4 slices of lemon
      2 teaspoons of honey
      Add 4 of the cloves, ginger and cardamom to some water and boil for a while to release their flavour and aroma. Remove the seasoning and brew the tea with this water. Crush two slices of lemon with honey. Add the ginger syrup or mixture of syrup and liqueur to the tea. Next add honey with lemon. Mix it in. Decorate the tea with the rest of the cloves and lemon.

      Enjoy your drink!

    • By Kasia
      My Irish Coffee  
      Today the children will have to forgive me, but adults also sometimes want a little pleasure. This is a recipe for people who don't have to drive a car or work, i.e. for lucky people or those who can rest at the weekend. Irish coffee is a drink made with strong coffee, Irish Whiskey, whipped cream and brown sugar. It is excellent on cold days. I recommend it after an autumn walk or when the lack of sun really gets you down. Basically, you can spike the coffee with any whiskey, but in my opinion Jameson Irish Whiskey is the best for this drink.

      If you don't like whiskey, instead you can prepare another kind of spiked coffee: French coffee with brandy, Spanish coffee with sherry, or Jamaican coffee with dark rum.
      Ingredients (for 2 drinks)
      300ml of strong, hot coffee
      40ml of Jameson Irish Whiskey
      150ml of 30% sweet cream
      4 teaspoons of coarse brown sugar
      1 teaspoon of caster sugar
      4 drops of vanilla essence
      Put two teaspoons of brown sugar into the bottom of two glasses. Brew some strong black coffee and pour it into the glasses. Warm the whiskey and add it to the coffee. Whisk the sweet cream with the caster sugar and vanilla essence. Put it gently on top so that it doesn't mix with the coffee.

      Enjoy your drink!

    • By Kasia
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for swift autumn cookies with French pastry and a sweet ginger-cinnamon-pear stuffing. Served with afternoon coffee they warm us up brilliantly and dispel the foul autumn weather.

      Ingredients (8 cookies)
      1 pack of chilled French pastry
      1 big pear
      1 flat teaspoon of cinnamon
      1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
      2 tablespoons of brown sugar
      1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar
      2 tablespoons of milk

      Heat the oven up to 190C. Cover a baking sheet with some baking paper.
      Wash the pear, peel and cube it. Add the grated ginger, cinnamon, vanilla sugar and one tablespoon of the brown sugar. Mix them in. Cut 8 circles out of the French pastry. Cut half of every circle into parallel strips. Put the pear stuffing onto the other half of each circle. Roll up the cookies starting from the edges with the stuffing. Put them onto the baking paper and make them into cones. Smooth the top of the pastry with the milk and sprinkle with brown sugar. bake for 20-22 minutes.

      Enjoy your meal!

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...