Colombia! 2011

NCA has been silent for a while. But trust me, I do have a good excuse. Among other things, I just returned from Bogotá, Colombia where I attended the World Barista Championship!

If you haven’t noticed, I LOVE barista competitions. I’ve participated in many national and regional competitions over the years but this was the first World Championship I have ever attended. Colombia was a good choice. It was monumental in that it was the first championship ever held in a major coffee-producing country. What’s more, the Barista Champion from El Salvador won, becoming the first Barista ever from a coffee-producing country to win the World Championship! An amazing feat in a competition typically dominated by Americans and Europeans.(click here to see his winning performance!)

I spent my time at the “4th machine” -an espresso bar staffed by volunteers from around the world. I worked side by side with baristas from Chile, Canada, Australia, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Romania, New Zealand as well as the U.S. There were three machines and after the second day we realized on a single machine we pulled over 4,000 shots! Imagine working with baristas you’ve never worked with, often speaking different languages and serving customers non-stop, open to close(also speaking many different languages). Let’s go ahead and add to this the challenge of working with espresso you’re not familiar with and altitude that I, for one, am not used to(espresso brews very differently at 2625 m-Bogotá compared to 358 m-Lincoln).

It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

But for now, I am back in Nebraska. Time to get back to work! I am currently working shifts at Cultiva Café on 11th and G st, consulting for a couple of coffee shops (shhhh! opening soon;), profiling more baristas, promoting the BGA and planning some fun coffee events!

Speaking of fun coffee events click here to see what’s happening this month!


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