For the first time in the competition's history, the World Barista Championship will be held in Australia next year, forming part of the 2013 Melbourne International Coffee Expo.
The largest coffee-focused show on Australian soil, the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) premiered last year and according to Sarah Ellul, assistant director, it impressed the organisers of the Barista Championship so much they decided Melbourne would be the best host for next year's competition.
"World Coffee Events attended the inaugural MICE and was very impressed with the quality of our event. The event was run at a highly professional level, and in hosting the Australasian Specialty Coffee Association Coffee Championships we proved our ability to put on a trade event that was beneficial to exhibitors while also welcoming to the coffee competition community," she told Hospitality.
The World Barista Championships will welcome baristas who have won at their state/national level from over 50 countries around the world, keen to claim the crown as the global champion.
"As the world's most widely watched barista competition, this means that Melbourne will be the central focus of the global coffee industry. We'll see industry leaders from all over the world come to Melbourne, and for us it will be a chance to show off the country's strong specialty coffee culture, with Melbourne the epicenter of the Australian specialty coffee scene," said Ellul.
"An Australian barista has finished in the top three finalists in four out of the five years of the World Barista Championships. This is a sign of the incredible talent our baristas bring to the international stage. Melbourne is recognised as having some of the best coffee in the world. Where good coffee is something to hunt down in most places in the world, in Melbourne we can find great coffee at our doorstep."
Run over the four days of the Expo, from 16 to 19 May 2013, the competition will comprise a preliminary round, a semi-finals round and a finals round. The competitors have 15 minutes to make an espresso, a cappuccino and a signature beverage, which will be judged by four sensory judges, while two technical judges review the baristas' technical performance, and one head judge presides over the entire presentation. Each competitor competes in the preliminary round, and then the top 12 scoring baristas proceed into a semi-final round. From here, the top six will compete again in a finals round to determine the winner with the highest score, who becomes the World Barista Champion.
Slider image: theaustralian.com.au