1st Iran Barista Challenge Draws Amazing Local Talent in Tehran

Unique competition,  Iran Barista Challenge, developed to stimulate the talented barista community of Tehran

There are few barista communities with as much heart and drive as the one that exists in Tehran, Iran. Baristas here are so devoted to both specialty coffee and their community of like-minded professionals that they built a movement from scratch just a few years ago, and developed it enough to be sanctioned by the World Coffee Events  organization to have its own national barista competition ”quote a feat for a barely four-year-old community.

Winners, sponsors, and volunteers gather for a group photo at the close of the 1st Iran Barista Challenge November 9 “10.
Winners, sponsors, and volunteers gather for a group photo at the close of the 1st Iran Barista Challenge November 9 “10.
Technical judges conferring. Yes, that's 2015 Iran Barista Champion Tehran Mohammad Nezhad Mirjani on the right!
Technical judges conferring.  

Always looking for new outlets for their coffee prowess, Amir Masoud Ghahari and other leaders  in the group developed the Iran Barista Challenge, its own unique event that has nothing to do with the World Barista Championship, but was instead created to showcase the passions and talents of baristas from across Iran with a fresh new event.

Competitors hard at work on the first day of competition.
Competitors hard at work on the first day of competition.
Sensory judges evaluating drinks.
Sensory judges evaluating drinks during the final round.

Fourteen participants took place in the two-day Iran Barista Challenge November 9 and 10, which drew hundreds of people to the Garden House Cafe Restaurant where the event was held. The first day of competition had each competitor demonstrate correct grinder usage, prepare one espresso, one cappuccino, and one latte, in 15 minutes.

Competitor Alireza Arafati carefully pours his cappuccino.
Competitor Alireza Arafati carefully pours his cappuccino.
Excited crowd gathered to watch the final round.
Excited crowd gathered to watch the final round.

After tallying the scores, six barista remained for the final day of competition. Baristas were instructed to prepare an espresso, a macchiato, a latte, and one French-pressed coffee in 15 minutes for a panel of technical and sensory judges.

Winners and sponsors with trophies and prizes.
Winners and sponsors with trophies and prizes.

A special highlight of the event was the participation of 2016 Iran Barista Championship runner-up  Mansour Ehsani, who helped the curious audience members understand the process of barista competitions.14918737_1663508367313215_6218775011334214554_o

 

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Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.