The Bean Stalker

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The Barista Wars December 6, 2008

Most coffee drinkers know that consistency and quality of a good cup of coffee depends on the barista.  The importance of a  barista is so great that it has even been turned into a sport.  The World Barista Championship is an annual contest where 50 of the world’s greatest baristas compete for the world trophy. 

Stephen Morrissey was the 2008 World Barista Champion.  The Prize?  A La Marzocco GS/3  expresso machine (you can buy your own for $7,000)  and a Compak  K-10 WBC expresso grinder(add this to your kitchen appliances for $1,400). 

The competitors are judged by seven judges who score the contestants on taste, cleanliness, creativity, technical skill and overall presentation.   The presentation includes the appearance of the drink, which can be a contest in itself.  The video below displays some of the potential of latte art.

Participants must first attend one workshop at the beginning of the year.  The next workshops are scheduled for Jan 13-14, 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden and Jan 14-15, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.  The 2009 World Barista Championship is set to take place in Atlanta, GA on April 16-19. 

For those wanting to participate at a more local level, the Mountain Regional Barista Competition is Jan 16-18 at the Adams 12 Building in Thornton, Colo. Contestants are
judged based in the areas as the World Championship. 

More information can be found on the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s website.


A contestant attempts to impress the judge with his unique take on coffee at the 2008 Mountain Regional Barista Competition in Thornton, Colo.