Scenes from the Mexican National Coffee Championships

Experimental varietals, new regions, and an all-star set of routines were on display at the 17th annual Mexican National Coffee Championships in Mexico City.


Coffee professionals from across the country gathered in Mexico City for Café Expo, a coffee trade show August 30-September 1 that also hosted the 2018 Mexican National Coffee Championships. After a series of regional competitions across the country, 20 baristas and brewers came together to compete over three days for the national title, including the reigning barista champion, Ariadna Chaparro of Coffee Matters MX, fresh off her performance at the 2018 World Barista Championship in Amsterdam.

Ariadna Chaparro, the reigning Mexico barista champion, pours milk drinks tableside. Ariadna just competed in the 2018 World Barista Championship in Amsterdam in June.

A number of former champions shared the stage, including Miriam Aldana Romero (a two-time latte art champion) and Juan Carlos de la Torre (a two-time Brewers Cup champion).

Cristian Ponce, a first-time competitor, placed third in this year’s competition, behind last year’s barista champion and a two-time national Brewers Cup champion.

All 40 competitors used coffees from Mexico, which wasn’t a new development; however, what marked this year’s competition was a growing commitment to improving quality. “Baristas are committed to developing the quality and to promote direct trade [within Mexico]. And they are getting more involved in the production, processing and roasting,” shares Sylvia Gutierrez, one of the organizers of the competition.

Jennifer Alamilla talks to the judges about her signature drink, walking them through each ingredient and how it complements the coffee. Every competitor used a coffee from Mexico, emphasizing new processing techniques, unique varietals, and lesser-known growing regions in Mexico.

The competitors differentiated themselves by focusing on experimental processing methods and varietals new to Mexico. “Most of the competitors are trying to work with different processing methods, different fermentations, drying techniques, roasting curves or degassing periods. Varieties are also something that the baristas are trying to find, as well as non-traditional production regions. Gesha trees are now in a productive phase but still adapting to the soil and climate conditions. The flavor profile is still not fully defined, but we found Geshas from Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Veracruz in this competition,” Sylvia shares.

Juan Carlos de la Torre and Ariadna Chaparro holding their first- and second-place plaques, respectively. Juan Carlos will represent Mexico in the World Barista Championship in Boston in 2019.

The competitive barista circuit was clearly close-knit; as baristas and brewers competed, they were often cheered on, helped, and greeted by fellow competitors. The top six linked arms and held hands as they waited for the results of the competition—the winners of the barista and Brewers Cup competitions, both of whom hail from Café Con Jiribilla in Mexico City, will represent Mexico in the 2019 World Coffee Championship in Boston.

Luis Alberto Guardado lighting orange zest on fire for the judges’ signature drinks.

Here are the top six baristas and brewers from this year’s competition:


1. Juan Carlos De La Torre—Café Con Jiribilla
2. Ariadna Chaparro—Coffee Matters MX
3. Cristian Ponce—Alquimia Café
4. Jennifer Alamilla— Degas Café
5. Jorge Francisco Rendon—Garage Café Tostado
6. Luis Alberto Guardado—Café Etrusca

Brewers Cup runner-up Emilio Arturo Acosta Hernandez brewed coffee with a Kalita and a small tool with a handle and multiple holes (in left hand). Emilio poured into the tool to distribute water over the brew bed.


1. Carlos Alberto Delgado Maqueda—Café Con Jiribilla
2. Emilio Arturo Acosta Hernandez—Cucurucho Café
3. Miriam Aldana Romero—Polvora
4. Sebastian Alexis Rodriguez Bonelli—360 Tostadores de Café
5. Rocio Anali Castil Urbina—Café Avellaneda
6. Ricardo Enrique Otero Garcia—Café Galeno

About Ashley Rodriguez 413 Articles
Ashley is the Online Editor for Barista Magazine. She's based in Chicago. If you want to share a story or have a comment, you can reach her at