In Moscow!

For the third year in a row, residents of Moscow, as well as Russians from far and wide, are gathering in Red Square for the Spasskaya Tower Festival, which kicks off today and continus through September 4. For the first time coffee is playing a big role in this end-of-summer celebration of the best military marching bands, equestrian demonstrations and fireworks: Soyuz Coffee Roasting has debuted the International Coffee Festival Starring World’s Best Baristas, being held in conjunction with the Festival.

Last night, we gathered to watch the Festival in Red Square. It was breathtaking.

What this means is that some of the very best baristas in the world have been invited to make coffee for the masses at the Festival. I am here with the following superstars:

Alejandro Mendez, World Barista Champion, Barista Champ of El Salvador

Pete Licata, Barista Champion of the United States

Javier Garcia, Barista Champion of Spain

Stefanos Domatiotis, Barista Champion of Greece

Francesco Sanapo, Barista Champion of Italy

Olga Meli-Karakozova, Barista Champion of Russia

Monika Palova, Barista Champion of Slovakia

“The International Coffee Festival Starring World’s Best Baristas is a unique event and a real feast for connoisseurs and admirers of high-end coffees. Thanks to it, for five day Moscow will turn into the capital of supreme mastery of creating excellent coffees. This kind of an event is being held in Russia for the first time. The best barista masters from different continents and countries, multiple winners of world and national championships of the USA, Italy, Spain, Greece, Russia and El Salvador are in the heart of this festival. The International Coffee Festival is a part of the annual International military tattoo music festival «Spasskaya Tower ». The union of these two unique festivals isn’t accidental. Coffee, like music, brings together people from different cultures.”

The Festival officially kicks off today, and it’s going to be busy at the Soyuz Coffee Roasting area where the International Coffee Festival is taking place. But our amazing host, Drago, from Soyuz, is taking good care of us, showing us around the city and taking us to great cafes before the day ”and night ”begin (most of the Festival takes place at night).

Right now, we are at Koffein, which is a beautiful chain of 23 cafes in Moscow, and is where Barista Champion of Russia Olga, works. We have gathered in one of the cafes — this one a totally gorgeous space that Koffein teamed up with BMW and Mini on, so it is the known gathering in Moscow for Mini owners! It’s pretty amazing.

Life sized Mini make-up on the wall. They filmed Top Gear here!
Mini Meeting Place: like, the coolest study cubby I've ever seen.

Meanwhile, the guys are behind the counter here at Koffein playing with the coffees they brought from Hawaii (Pete), Greece (Stefanos), El Salvador (Alejandro), and Spain (Javier) ”and we’ve barely started!

We’re having so much fun together here in Russia. Stay tuned for more updates from the Festival, our VIP tour of the Kremlin and the Space Museum, and more!!

Pete chats with Olga at Koffein. Giavanni from Nuova Simonelli ”our unofficial tour guide ”stands behind them.
Stefanos, Alejandro and Francesco get into it.
Stefanos talks the Koffein staff into letting him do table service for the customers. The customers were a litle bewildered, but seemed satisfied with Stefanos and Alejandro's tableside manner.
Pete and Olga behind the bar.
About Sarah 934 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.