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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 PerÃ¤kylÃ¤ 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.
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 & NystrÃ¶m, in their Katajanokka café.
Many thanks to all the sponsors of this event: Kaffa Roastery, The Barn Berlin, Johan & NystrÃ¶m, Barista Magazine, Best Water Technology, Good Life Coffee, Rost & Co., Espresso Gear, Brewista, Baratza, Trabocca, E.K. Print profile.
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.