June 7 - Baristas from around the world gather in Colombia to find out who brews the best cup of coffee. Gemma Haines reports.
It's the Olympics of coffee-making. Fifty-four of the world's best baristas descended on Bogota, Colombia for the 12th annual World Barista Championship. Hailing from coffee-producing countries, each contestant had to prepare four espressos, four cappuccinos and four original signature drinks in fifteen minutes. Baristas were judged on their presentation, technique, cleanliness and service skills. Organizer Mark Inman says the competition highlights culinary coffee at its very best. SOUNDBITE: Mark Inman, President of The World Barista Championship, (English) "The World Barista Championship, is a culinary competition focusing on the high art of espresso preparation. This year we have 54 countries competing for the world barista championship title and what has been amazing for the past handful of years is that more and more coffee-producing countries have been to the finals." Spanish champion Javier Garcia says when preparing his special brew, he tends to think about the background of the coffee bean. SOUNDBITE: Javier Garcia, Spanish barista champion, saying (Spanish) "I believe in the importance of the WBC. The World Barista Championship goes beyond the baristas' community and beyond winning prestige among us. If we take a step back and go to the blender, go harvest our coffee beans and begin to think about where this bean comes from, how it has been treated and grown -- then, well, I believe it is about dignifying the entire coffee chain. At the end of the day, each time I prepare a cup, I try to think more about producers and transport myself to the growing countries." Colombia is known as the world's number one producer of top-quality, washed arabica coffee, which is grown in lush mountain ranges at high altitude. Thirty per cent of the country's agricultural land is dedicated to coffee, and this year it's expected to produce up to 9.5 million bags. Gemma Haines, Reuters.