The Barista League, the fun and raucous coffee competition that’s been rambling around Europe, comes to the United States for a four-city tour.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo courtesy of Ashley Day
The Barista League has swept Europe, traveling across the continent in a haze of laughter, camaraderie, and a light-hearted spirit toward coffee competitions that’s rarely ever seen. And now, The Barista League will kick off a U.S. tour in what they describe as an “Almost Famous-style road trip” that will travel to four cities in two weeks.
The Barista League is nothing new to readers of Barista Magazine Online—we’ve closely covered competitions over the years in Helsinki, Oslo, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, and Oslo again—but it’s about to become more familiar to folks as The Barista League crew sets up events in Portland, Ore., hosted by Black Rabbit Service Co.; Kansas City, Mo., hosted by Workbench Coffee Labs; Greenville, S.C., hosted by Ally Coffee; and Philadelphia, hosted by Ultimo Coffee. The competitions will follow the same style and spirit as the European competitions, providing baristas with an exciting format to challenge their skills while having fun and meeting new people. “I want The Barista League to be the best coffee competition in the world,” says founder Stephen Moloney. “The competition where everyone is welcome and every person leaves with much more than they came.”
For those of who think this competition is a glorified latte art throwdown, you’re wrong. The Barista League includes the best parts of all coffee competitions. As they describe it, “The Barista League combines the playful atmosphere of a latte art throwdown with the competition standard of the Super Bowl and the prizes of the Oprah show into one inclusive, engaging format.” The competition is broken up into three rounds—barista skills, sensory skills, and the always-popular mystery round—and the winners will receive a trip to origin (the destination is revealed at the end of the competition).
Stephen, who was the 2017 Barista Champion of Sweden, started The Barista League as a way to bring more baristas into the competition scene—without barriers such as cost and time commitment—while having a good time. “The Barista League is the innovative way to create connections and interact with the coffee community in Europe,” a press release states. “TBL brings high-quality events to different coffee communities around Europe in a way that is fun, inclusive, and engaging for baristas, judges, spectators, and volunteers alike.”
The tour kicks of August 30 in Portland, and is supported by folks like Ally Coffee, BWT, Compak, Onyx Coffee Lab, Pacific Foods, Baratza, Urnex, Espresso Parts, and Ultimo Coffee. You can find out more at The Barista League’s website.