The World Barista Championship comes to Caffè Culture

21 June 2010 by
The World Barista Championship comes to Caffè Culture

Part of the Caffè Culture exhibition, the World Barista Championship has come to London for the first time, showing how the UK is becoming the world's coffee capital. Ian Boughton finds out what caterers can learn from the baristas and apply to their own business.

Part of the Caffè Culture exhibition, the World Barista Championship has come to London for the first time, showing how the UK is becoming the world's coffee capital. Ian Boughton finds out what caterers can learn from the baristas and apply to their own business.

If the Caffè Culture show is the trade's best opportunity to learn about speciality coffee, then the opportunity to learn how to win a reputation for serving truly great coffee can be found in a single corner of the Olympia exhibition hall.

This is the year in which the World Barista Championship comes to London, and this contest is the chance to appreciate why the UK is becoming the coffee centre of the world.

In 2007, James Hoffmann of London became the first Briton to win the World Barista Championship; in 2009, Gwilym Davies of London became the second to do so. Between them, Stephen Morrissey, a Dubliner living in London, took the title. In the international rankings compiled by Norwegian coffee guru Alf Kramer, the UK has been "top coffee nation" for some time.

But all this means nothing if the result is not to improve the business done with coffee to the British catering trade. This contest is more important than simply finding a world champion; it is the place in which a restaurant manager can watch 50 champion baristas from all over the world, and come to understand the creation of espresso.

the way to a revolution

Dale Harris, director of coffee at First Choice Coffee, very nearly had the chance to be one of the world's top 50 - he was runner-up in the British barista championships.

"The contest can open up the hospitality industry's view of what espresso can really taste like. It is the chance to reposition the trade's ideas on what constitutes a great cappuccino - look at the smaller drink, the ‘microfoam' and the latte art. You will clearly see the contrast between these drinks and what many UK operators push as cappuccinos.

"If the trade committed to the standards shown in this contest, we'd see a revolution in customer enjoyment, appreciation, loyalty and spend."

David Cooper, managing director of Cooper's Coffee, was a world championship judge, and believes the catering trade could be transformed by watching the contest.

high standards

"From personal experience, I know that the World Barista Championship methods, practices and standards are almost perfect - if these rules were applied in commercial food service, the market would be completely different. There would be no more complaints about bad coffee."

Steve Penk, sales director of La Spaziale espresso machines, is chairman of the board of the World Barista Championship and wants to see restaurateurs watching closely.

"I would like to think that the hospitality trade will see that attention to detail brings great results. Chefs have known this for a long time, but who takes responsibility for coffee in the hotel and restaurant trades?

"This contest is based on good practice, so I would like to see hospitality managers thinking: ‘Why did he leave the filter basket in the machine between drinks, when my barista leaves it on the table? Why is he just grinding a small amount of coffee to order? Why is he doing that with his milk? How did he get that design on the top?'

"What should be apparent is that the baristas competing here understand coffee, and understand coffee roasting. When I was a chef, I visited farms, and I visited butchers. Many restaurants now proudly list their local meat and veg suppliers - the hospitality trade can learn a lot from forming a relationship with their local roaster."

Take the time to taste the coffee that these champions offer, says Dale Harris. You can do this at various stands.

"There is a whole world of different ideas to be explored about what constitutes a good espresso," he advises.

This idea really can be tested. Beside the competition area is a barista bar where competing baristas will be working shifts during the exhibition. Baristas are gregarious creatures - the wise beverages manager who seeks them out here will find their questions answered enthusiastically.

baristas at the show

And champion baristas can be found around the show - at Kerry (stand H84), the flavour arm of the massive international food service and flavours company, there will be recent national barista champions from six countries, all there specifically to discuss ways to work with coffee. At the Rombouts stand (H86), several baristas competing from its French sister company, Malongo, will also be available to discuss their work. Hugo Hercod, British champion in 2008, will be working the CMA Astoria (F80).

"Five years ago, if you had suggested that there could be 30 specialist coffee bars in central London, people would have laughed at you," says Penk.

"We now see London as a recognised capital of coffee, and we want to see this spread throughout the hospitality trade and throughout the country. The idea that coffee of this standard is available in Britain still amazes people - and the reason it is available is because some people have studied the good practice of champion baristas, and have translated it into serving great coffee in their own business.

"Take the time to watch the World Barista Championship, and you'll realise what great coffee can do for your business."

For more information on the World Barista Championships and Caffè Culture" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">visit the Caffè Culture website here >>](


[Coopers Coffee ]( 298 2802

[First Choice Coffee ]( 275520

[La Spaziale01246 450666


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