On the Ground with Barista & Farmer Honduras

Barista & Farmer Honduras brings baristas to origin for one-of-a-kind competition and reality show

Barista & Farmer Honduras
The international baristas of Barista & Farmer competed in a coffee picking competition against local Honduran baristas.

The most obvious difference between this year’s Barista & Farmer and the previous one is the cast. The first edition of the reality TV/competition/talent show was held in November 2013 in Puerto Rico and featured 15 baristas from across Italy. This year’s version is set in Honduras and has a cast of 10 baristas from around the world.

Barista & Farmer Honduras
The baristas for this year’s Barista & Farmer come from all over the world.

The difference in backgrounds for the baristas (they come from France, Guatemala, Argentina, Russia, Thailand, and of course Italy, among others) means they don’t have pre-established relationships. Many of the baristas in the first edition not only knew each other but had competed against each other in the Italian national barista championship.

So it has taken a little longer for the baristas here in Honduras to form a community, but they certainly have: working side-by-side with someone picking coffee for four hours a day for a week will do that. In another twist from the first year, the participants first applied by submitting videos and then had people vote for them online. The top vote-getters were then selected to be a part of Barista & Farmer Honduras.

Barista & Farmer Honduras
The baristas tend to their fincas in one of the many different competitions here.

Another significant difference is the setting. The 2013 version was held in Puerto Rico at Hacienda San Pedro, Roberto Atienza’s farm and his daughter Rebecca’s. The entire event took place in a single location. Here, however, the baristas have worked at a couple of locations on several different farms in the Copan department in western Honduras. They’ll also have a community event in the district’s capital, Santa Rosa, with local Honduran baristas.

Barista & Farmer Honduras
The baristas have to hand-pulp all of the cherry they pick every morning.

The Barista & Farmer talent show is the dream of Italian barista champion (and now roaster and specialty café owner) Francesco Sanapo, who wanted to bring baristas to origin to experience firsthand the life of a coffee farmer. Oh, and he wanted to film the whole thing, so that audiences everywhere would get a chance to see too what it takes to bring coffee from the field to their cup. Working closely with Rebecca, they pulled off the first one spectacularly. The baristas harvested and processed nearly a ton of coffee. Then they were able to serve that coffee, with Roberto, to attendees to the Italian trade show for coffee, confections and pastries, Sigep, in Rimini, Italy.

Barista & Farmer Honduras
Baristas race with bags of cherry down a muddy road to the weigh station.

During the event at origin, the baristas participate in a number of competitions from picking and hand-pulping coffee, to more creative ones, like a photo contest, or even sorting coffee seeds and planting their own fincas, to triangular cuppings and more. The baristas also attend the Barista & Farmer academy where they take classes on subjects like varietal development, espresso theory, and the like.

Barista & Farmer Honduras
The baristas try their hands at a triangular cupping competition after taking a sensory analysis class in the Barista & Farmer Academy.

Another noticeable difference between the first edition and now is the film crew. The 2013 version relied on freelance videographers from Puerto Rico to do the filming. This year Barista & Farmer brought their own film team from Italy to shoot and manage the video aspect of the event, hoping to have higher-quality videos to share with the world.

Barista & Farmer Honduras
The film crew gathers footage for the video portion of Barista & Farmer.

So far, based on talking with the baristas and the producers (both event and coffee), this version seems to be even better than the last. And Francesco and Rebecca are already working on a third edition to take place in another coffee producing country in 2016.

Barista & Farmer Honduras
The baristas end their day of labor at the Capucas Cooperative where they’ve spent the last several days of Barista & Farmer Honduras.

 

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