Why Attending Espresso Competitions Is Price It


Judges gathered around a table at a coffee competition. A man holds up a clipboard.

Going outdoors your consolation zone, whether or not to compete, observe, or volunteer, is an effective way to construct neighborhood and develop your espresso information.


Pictures by @CoffeeAndLucas/ myMediaStudio besides the place famous

The rise of the specialty-coffee scene has introduced with it the expansion of espresso competitions. From enjoyable occasions like latte artwork throwdowns to particular model competitions (comparable to these for AeroPress and Comandante) to extremely skilled championships like these organized by the Specialty Coffee Association or the well-known Coffee Masters, there’s at all times some cool occasion a espresso lover can attend. 

However what are some good causes for taking part in a espresso competitors? And is there a flawed cause? 

Gian Zaniol, the 2017 Italian Brewers Cup Champion, has been primarily based in Berlin since 2011. He’s a barista, espresso enthusiastic, coach, and (clearly) a little bit of a espresso nerd. Gian shares his story and the the explanation why he selected to attend a espresso competitors.  

“Right here in Berlin I found how cool espresso will be, and the way a lot this area has to supply. An expensive buddy of mine (then additionally my boss), Nora Šmahelová, pushed me to compete, and I can’t thank her sufficient. Truthfully, I didn’t actually like competing and exposing myself, however at the moment I believed it is likely to be alternative to study extra about espresso [and] myself and to satisfy new individuals.” 

Gian Zaniol presenting a V60 pour over coffee at a coffee competition
Gian presents a V60 pourover at a contest.

Be taught Extra and Hone Your Expertise 

”The choice to compete was probably the greatest [decisions] I made, not solely as a result of I gained, however principally for the journey to the competitors. The very first time, I skilled for 4 months day-after-day, taking my shift on the café within the morning and coaching for the remainder of the day within the basement of Chapter One. That interval was merely magical for me: with Nora, who was additionally my coach, we did many experiments making an attempt many various coffees, water [types], and recipes. I realized extra in these 4 months than all of the years earlier than mixed.”

Open Doorways for Opportunites

”After profitable my very first competitors,” Gian continues, ”I had many extra alternatives associated to my job. I got here into contact with new firms (a few of which I nonetheless collaborate with), I expanded each my abilities and my personal enterprise, I began my path to change into a greater barista, and met so many cool those that I can nonetheless name mates immediately.” 

Studying new abilities, making mates, and opening doorways for future alternatives are all advantages of attending espresso competitions, in response to Gian.

A competition barista raises up his arm in the air, other hand on his chest, as time is called on his presentation.
Competitions show you how to hone your espresso abilities so you’ll be able to convey your finest to the desk.

Hold It In Perspective

So are these potential accolades the principle cause somebody ought to wish to compete?

“To start with,” says Gian, “it is very important say that profitable a contest is a place to begin and never the ultimate purpose. Competing should be one thing you do for your self to change into a greater barista, to study extra in regards to the espresso and the job we select, to develop your community and enhance your abilities. Visibility is non permanent; abilities and information are endlessly. I feel one of many worst causes to compete is to appease your ego or to show your value to another person.” 

Roukiat Delrue is an authorized decide and WCE rep in world occasions and a former competitors volunteer, initially from Belgium and presently dwelling in Guatemala. Roukiat agrees with Gian on the primary cause to attend a coffee competition: to study extra. 

“I strongly encourage attending a contest before everything, whatever the position you’ve got chosen—competitor, decide, volunteer—to study. To discover ways to do higher, to study business developments, to be uncovered to totally different coffees and processing strategies, to study each the native and international business.” 

Construct Friendships and Make Connections 

By attending competitions, you’ll be able to change into a part of the native espresso neighborhood, and meet new mates whereas sharing the expertise. 

Roukiat continues, “(This) helps a robust sense of neighborhood and dedication within the business and of being ‘by way of one thing’ collectively, once more whatever the position in query. Lastly, (there’s) the sense of neighborhood that comes virtually naturally with it, and the friendship issue.” 

A long-haired barista in a handmade apron prepares his coffee cart for presentation. One the plastic cart are scales, coffee cups, spoons and other barista tools for a successful coffee presentation.
David Ellis of Crema Espresso prepares a for the USCC Prelims at Candy Bloom Espresso Roasters in Denver final month. David positioned second within the Barista class. Photograph by J. Carlan.

So is there a flawed cause to compete in a espresso occasion? Roukiat’s perception is just like Gian’s: “It’s a competitors, so after all nobody brazenly goes into one with out eager to win—nonetheless, as a competitor, your objective ought to be better than that.”  

Assist the Espresso Group 

Roukiat provides a distinct angle, reminding us that even when attending a contest—not as a contender however as a decide or volunteer—it is very important accomplish that for the precise cause.  

“Should you determine to take part as a volunteer, or when you change into an authorized decide,” Roukiat concludes, “Don’t assume solely of your self and your position, however—as we hope everybody does—keep in mind that you’re there to help the group and the opponents.”  


Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the espresso machine (or visiting some hidden nook of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a web site about specialty espresso that she’s creating alongside along with her boyfriend.

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