There are different opinions on barista competitions. Some argue it stands too far from the real barista job but most of the baristas we met on our travels appreciate the chance to compare and network with their colleagues. We got a feeling that presentations and conversations taking place during these events are the ones that keep pushing the industry forward.
Online is where European Coffee Trip feel the best and that is the reason we decided to support the first edition of The Barista Challenge, an online competition that invite professional baristas from all around Europe to create a coffee drink of the future. We are even joining the team of judges in Gothenburg and we are excited to meet the five finalists during the World of Coffee event in person.
“I wanted to create a competition which is easy accessible for all European baristas, so they can meet other baristas and learn with and from each other,” says Moniek Smit, the founder of The Barista Challenge, as a part of our conversation. Don’t hesitate to read the rest of the interview below.
ECT: How would you describe The Barista Challenge in a few words?
MS: The Barista Challenge is an online competition, easy accessible. The five finalists will win a trip to World of Coffee in Gothenburg and present their coffee drink in the final to easy going judges.
ECT: How did you come about the idea for such a competition?
MS: The main reason for most baristas to compete is to learn and to meet other baristas. I have competed when I started my coffee career more than twelve years ago. I never won a title, but still enjoy the new coffee friends I made. Today, competing in the official competitions demands a serious commitment in time, energy and money. I wanted to create a competition which is easy accessible for all European baristas, so they can meet other baristas and learn with and from each other.
ECT: What’s the idea behind “only plant based” products allowed?
MS: The Barista Challenge is all about presenting coffee drinks of the future. Plant based products are finding their way into coffee bars and consumers are asking for these options. It is up to the barista to work with plant based products and introduce new recipes to their guests. This challenge is not just about replacing product like milk or cream, but to add new recipes to the coffee bar menu.
ECT: Why should baristas join the competition?
MS: The Barista Challenge is for professional baristas who like to be creative and want to meet other baristas from around Europe. The chance to win a trip to World of Coffee in Gothenburg is just part of the reward. Learning from the experience and meeting coffee friends for life is the most important reason to join the challenge.