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Barista & Farmer contest takes baristas from coffee bean to cup

From the February 2018 issue.

This May, 10 of the world's top baristas will travel to Colombia to spend 10 days living as coffee producers in the celebrated country of origin, learning cutting-edge techniques to create a unique custom blend.

Focusing on supply chain values from the bean to the cup including sustainability and education, the 10 will take part in the international Barista & Farmer talent show from 3 to 13 May.

Nine of the entrants have already been announced, with the 10th to be revealed at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo taking place in Melbourne, Australia, from 22 to 24 March.

Those already selected come from Germany, Colombia, Ukraine, China, Croatia, Brazil, Italy, Iceland and Russia.

The competitors will attend the Barista & Farmer Academy, a multidisciplinary school, under the direction of Alberto Polojac, Q Grader and member of the SCA Sustainability Council. The baristas will explore subjects such as botany, agronomy and extraction methods, taking part in coffee picking in several fincas in order to create a personal blend, while learning the steps of the production process that lead to the final result in the cup.

They will get the opportunity to experiment with alternative processing methods including some “borrowed” from the worlds of beer and wine, which use fermentation with yeast or seasoning with herbs.

“We want to create real ambassadors of specialty coffee, this is why we are going to implement the Coffee Diploma with technical aspects and practical interactive tests on the field, over new cultivation methods and agricultural practices,” the organizers said.

The aim is not only to provide a uique experience for the baristas but, by helping them understand the full cycle of the coffee bean and its producers, to create experts able to raise the bar for coffee throughout the world.

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