World Barista Championship

The 10th Annual World Barista Championship was held April 16-18 in Atlanta, GA. At the end of three days of fierce competition among baristas representing 52 different nations, Gwylim Davies of the United Kingdom took home the crown, taking it from Ireland’s Stephen Morrissey, the WBC’s 2008 winner.

The World Barista Championship was established in 2000, and has been held every year since in cities that include Monte Carlo, Miami, Oslo, Boston, Trieste, Seattle, Berne, Tokyo and Copenhagen. The first competition had only twelve competitors representing the USA, the UK, Slovenia, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Italy, Bosnia, Denmark, Croatia, Sweden and Ireland. The cold North swept the finals, with First, Second and Third place honors being taken by Norway, Iceland and Denmark respectively. Since then, top honors have been taken by Denmark four times, Norway and the UK twice each, and by Australia and Ireland once each.

Competitors for the WBC go through a series of local, regional and national championship to reach the international competition. At each level, they compete with the crème de la crema in the barista world. The WBC licenses national organizations in each of the countries that it represents. The national bodies take responsibility for establishing a structure for determining a national champion to send to the WBC each year. The international organization is based in the UK, and governed by a board drawn from the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe.

The goals of the WBC are fourfold:
1. To promote the growth, excellence & recognition in the Barista profession.
2. To grow the Barista’s knowledge of and expertise in, the preparation and serving of specialty, espresso coffee through competitions.
3. To promote the knowledge and consumption of specialty coffee to the consumer through the Barista.
4. To become globally recognized as the premier World Barista Event in the coffee calendar.

Each competitor in the World Barista Championship 2009 had to prepare 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos and 4 signature drinks in fifteen minutes – and to make it even more fun, each performance had to be set to music. The top six competitors from the first round advanced to the final round, where they repeated the performance and were judged on a combination of taste, cleanliness, creativity, technical skill and overall presentation by a panel of seven WBC certified judges.

Interested in competing in the 2010 World Barista Championship? The details of the next WBC are scant – the only information available at the WBC web site is that the competition will be held in the UK. For more information, keep your eye on the Specialty Coffee Association of America web site.