The Barista League heads to Helsingborg, Sweden. Meet the baristas and coffee pros competing in the event.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo by Ane Noss Bystadhaugen
The Barista League kicks off 2019 with a brand-new competition in Helsingborg, Sweden. The competition, a fun, spirited, and light-hearted coffee event founded by Steven Moloney (who just so happens to be on the cover of the December 2018 + January 2019 issue of Barista Magazine), will be hosted by Koppi Coffee Roasters on January 26.
The Barista League was founded in 2015, and has always been a bastion of inclusivity in the global coffee community. The premise is simple: 12 teams of two will compete in three different coffee-related competitions. The first round will be a drink challenge where teams will have to use the brand-new Rancilio Specialty RS1 machine and Oatly’s iKaffe, followed by a sensory round, and then a secret third round for which the only details provided are: “It features Baratza grinders.”
The rules are minimal, attendees are encouraged to cheer for their favorite teams, and participants don’t have to spend weeks preparing a routine or speech like they do in traditional barista competitions—they just have to come up with a great name and exciting costumes.
Although The Barista League has always been a fun event, it continues to evolve and change. The event in Helsingborg boasts three new challenges: First, there will be a major prize awarded to the overall winner of each of The Barista League’s event (as opposed to smaller prizes at every event); a Barista League Brew Bar will allow more interaction between competitors and attendees; and there will be a continued commitment to sustainability and waste reduction.
Inclusivity at The Barista League events also means keeping an eye on who participates and who judges—since 2015, over 70 percent of participants have been women or non-binary. At the Helsingborg event, judges include Mikaela Gervard (second place WBrC 2016), Vala Stefansdottir (Icelandic Latte Art and CGIS champion), and Sierra Burgess-Yeo (founder of The Kore Directive).
Tickets are available at The Barista League website, and proceeds will be donated to Grounds For Health, an organization that provides women’s health care in coffee-producing countries.
And here are the teams competing!