Over the weekend, top baristas from 53 countries around the world competed for the title of World Barista Champion in Bogota, Colombia—the winner becoming the face of exceptional specialty coffee around the world. After a great all-around competition and an incredibly refined finals round on Sunday, Alejandro Mendez from El Salvador took the top prize with his stunning presentation. Big congrats to every competitor, who all exhibited incredible skill, craft and expertise in coffee.
World Barista Champion: Alejandro Mendez, El Salvador (710.5)
2nd: Pete Licata, USA (659.5)
3rd: Matt Perger, Australia (659)
4th: Javier Garcia, Spain (631.5)
5th: Miki Suzuki, Japan (629.5)
6th: John Gordon, UK (613.5)
Not only was this the first Championship held in a producing country* it’s the first time a barista from a producing country has won. Alejandro’s presentation showed his expert knowledge, not only of the coffee most consumers are familiar with, but everything else that is usually discarded in the harvesting process.
Alejandro’s signature drink was comprised of an infusion of coffee mucilage, a tea made with dried coffee flowers, and a tea made from cascara (dried coffee cherries). The espresso used, which was separated from the crema, was a single origin El Salvador, called Finca La Illusion. It was grown by Ernesto Menendez on the slopes of the Sanata Ana volcano and roasted by Steve Leighton of Has Bean Coffee in the UK.
After Alejandro’s final presentation, the internet lit up with excitement, claiming that El Salvador had won, even with several contestants left to compete. His presentation was remarkably calm, personable, and had a beautiful story. I can only imagine how great the drinks tasted. You can watch the final presentation below.
*While the US and Australia both produce coffee, I reserve the term “coffee producing” for countries who include coffee among their primary exports.
View videos of the all the competitors on Livestream
[Photo via Barista Magazine]