The ever-popular Barista League is back for a third round, bringing community, antics, and friendly competition to Copenhagen!
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos by Elinor Hagberg
The Barista League, the popular Scandinavian coffee competition, is back for its third event in its second season. This event will take place May 12 in Copenhagen, and it’s already slated to be one of the most exciting and inclusive competitions the Barista League has hosted. “We have filled our teams for Copenhagen and have our most diverse set of baristas ever, with teams coming from Ukraine, Russia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Latvia, Germany, and even Ethiopia,” shares founder and organizer Steven Moloney. “We also have exactly 50 percent female and male competitors, which is a trend we are continually seeing with our events and something that I am really excited about.”
The Barista League has gained popularity throughout Europe as an alternative to other coffee competitions that focus on individual competitors and tend to be not as light-hearted. Instead, the Barista League hopes to promote community and engagement through fun and accessible competitions. “Featuring baristas from companies all over Europe, teams of two compete in three fast-paced, skill-based competitions to determine who gets to take home the coveted Barista League trophy,” a press release states. “Focusing on inclusivity, the event caters to industry professionals of all skill and experience levels, and attracts a diverse competitor pool.”
Although the event is meant to be fun, competitors are fighting for serious prizes in front of esteemed judges. Past competitors have won trips to origin, and this round’s panel of judges includes noteworthy leaders such as Anne Lunell of Koppi Fine Coffee Roasters, Sonja Zweidick of Barista Connect, and Kris Schackman of Five Elephant. Competitors will have to prove their skills in a sensory challenge where they will match different solutions with one of the five taste descriptors (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, or umami), along with a mystery box challenge where competitors will have an hour to build the most creative and complementary espresso drink with a set of mystery ingredients. As always, the third challenge will be revealed at the competition.
For the upcoming event in Copenhagen, the Barista League will launch a series of side events to take place concurrent to the competition. “We are going out to the community to host a number of different events all over the city across the weekend for baristas to engage with and get involved in,” Steven shares. The side events will include cuppings, whiskey and coffee pairings, and a training center for baristas to play with competition equipment before and after the event.
With many baristas having recently spent an intense weekend of high-stakes competition at the Global Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle, the Barista League offers a fresh look at the potential that competitions have to bring together the coffee community. There are few rules, participants pay no fees to enter, and anyone can come witness the antics of the event. Each season, the Barista League plans to host four events throughout Europe, with the one after Copenhagen taking place in Berlin. Although registration is full for participating in the competition, you can still get your free ticket to watch at www.thebaristaleague.com.