The Barista League Rolls Into Helsinki

One wild night of Barista League excitement, innovation, and teamwork for Finland

BY MIKE AKINS
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE

Having lavished the southern Nordic countries with the first four installments of its epic, 100%-for-fun competition events, The Barista League headed north to Helsinki, Finland, for event number five on Saturday, August 20. The event, which drew massive crowds of baristas, coffee pros, and plenty of enthusiasts from around the city as well as larger Scandinavia, was held at Kaffa Roastery and was widely agreed to be a phenomenal success.

The Barista League founder Steve Moloney kicks off the event.
The Barista League founder Steve Moloney kicks off the event.

A total of 12 teams of two baristas each competed, and it was nothing short of spectacular to watch. The organized chaos rocked Kaffa’s Punavuori neighborhood café, as the 24 coffee gladiators plied their craft in hopes of become the next Barista League champions. To see more photos than what we posted here, check out #baristaleagueV on Instagram.

Judges Alexander Ruas (left) and Boaz Bosoom.
Judges Alexander Ruas (left) and Boaz Bosoom.

Round 1 was the brew round: Each team had 10 minutes to prepare the best cup of coffee that they could using a Baratza Virtuoso grinder and a lovely Kenyan provided by The Barn Berlin. The result was 12 amazing and very different cups which were evaluated by judges Alexander Ruas (2011 Swedish Barista Champion) and Boaz Bosboom, who is Trabocca’s green coffee guy.

Team Brouhahas pressing it out: Emil Amman & Timothy Shipp.
Team Brouhahas pressing it out: Emil Amman & Timothy Shipp.

Round 2 was all about fruit pairing. Blindfolded fruit pairing. Seated at a table with their eyes covered, the baristas were faced with 5 fruits and 5 cups, which they had to pair correctly using only their senses of smell and touch.

Team SamSam get 5 out of 5 in the fruit-pairing round: Sampö Latvakangas & Samuli Parkkinen.
Team SamSam get 5 out of 5 in the fruit-pairing round: Sampö Latvakangas & Samuli Parkkinen.
Team Papu in the fruit pairing challenge.
Team Papu in the fruit pairing challenge.

Round 3: The mystery round! This round was a true test of teamwork, wherein one team member was blindfolded and tasked with brewing one espresso and one cappuccino in under 10 minutes. They could accept verbal guidance from their sighted teammate, but no hands-on assistance as they dialed in the grinder, dosed, tamped, pulled shots into cups, steamed, poured latte art, and served, all while blindfolded.

Mr. Coarse & Mrs. Fine, Tomi Nieminen & Arda Ylidrim, compete in Round 3.
Mr. Coarse & Mrs. Fine, Tomi Nieminen & Arda Ylidrim, compete in Round 3.
Sumppi Setä: Lauri Pipinen & Aleksi Kuusijarvi.
Sumppi Setä: Lauri Pipinen & Aleksi Kuusijarvi.

In the end, there could be only one winning team: All hail Team Dopio Disturbo, otherwise known as Jonna Korhonen and Sanna Palo, both of whom work at Kaffa Roastery, for taking the first-prize trophy. Second place was won by Team Floaters, i.e. Jarno Peräkylä and Kaisa Kokkonen. In third place was Team Mad Espresso Team, made up of Irinia Sharipova and Vasiliy Ladygin who traveled all the way from St. Petersburg, Russia.

Winners! Team Dopio Disturbo: Jonna Korhonen & Sanna Palo.
Winners! Team Dopio Disturbo: Jonna Korhonen & Sanna Palo.
Second place finishers: Team Floaters: Jarno Peräkylä & Kaisa Kokkonen.
Second place finishers: Team Floaters: Jarno Peräkylä & Kaisa Kokkonen.
Third place: Team Mad Espresso: Irina Sharipova & Vasiliy Ladygin.
Third place: Team Mad Espresso: Irina Sharipova & Vasiliy Ladygin.

The Barista League is not only about the competition but about creating a great coffee weekend for participants. So the following morning at 10, judge Boaz Bosoom offered a presentation about sourcing in Ethiopia, which was kindly hosted by Johan & Nyström, in their Katajanokka café.

The gang gathers for a group photo.
The gang gathers for a group photo.

Many thanks to all the sponsors of this event: Kaffa Roastery, The Barn Berlin, Johan & Nyström, Barista Magazine, Best Water Technology, Good Life Coffee, Rost & Co., Espresso Gear, Brewista, Baratza, Trabocca, E.K. Print profile.

Hooray for sponsors!
Hooray for sponsors!

To learn more about what The Barista League was founded to do and accomplish, read our story here. Stay tuned to The Barista League’s official website for news about upcoming events.

 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Akins
 was born in the United States, but resides in Helsinki, Finland, where he is the head of coffee R&D for Kaffa Roastery.  He loves riding bikes and Ethiopian coffees that taste like peaches.

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