This weekend I spent the majority of my time at the Homemakers Expo watching the 2014 KZN Barista Champs. I absolutely LOVED it! The talent was exceptional, and I learnt so much about how these regional competitions work. Not only do they judge on the coffee, but they judge on technicality, and presentation as well.
The competition is organised by SCASA, the Speciality Coffee Association of Southern Africa. Each barista is given 15 minutes to prepare their tables, during this time they are not allowed to communicate with anyone. After this they have 15 minutes to present their set to 7 judges, 4 sensory judges, 2 technical judges and the head judge.
The barista set is quite like a performance. They are expected to speak the judges through their set, with background music to compliment their performance. They share information about the coffee like where it is grown, at what altitude, the flavour notes and what the judges can expect to taste.
I was completely mesmerized by this weekends performances. Each barista is expected to present the judges with an espresso, a cappuccino, and a signature drink. The signature drink can be any espresso based variation (excluding alcohol), so we saw combinations of beetroot and egg whites, reduced grapefruit juice, and edible flowers.
The competition boils down to the Top 6 Baristas in KZN, then there is the Best Espresso, Best Cappuccino, Best Signature Drink, and Best Technical performance. There is also a Latte Art competition, a Manual Brewers competition and a Cup Tasters Competition.
|Travis Scott, representing TriBeca and Woolworths Cafe, placed 3rd in KZN|
|Arno Els, runner up Latte Art Champ|
|Musa representing Lineage Coffee|
To learn more about these competitions and to see the results from the 2014 KZN Barista Champs just click HERE.
The winner of the 2014 KZN Barista Champs was Dirk Maritz of Famous Brands. His set was outstanding, returning to the competition after 2 years off.
|2014 KZN Barista Champ, Dirk Maritz|
The National Barista Champs is in November and the champion from that will represent South Africa in Seattle at the 2015 World Barista Champs. The goal is to be at that too… holding thumbs!