The Barista League Reveals Its 2022 Mystery Coffee Vacation 

In February 2023, The Barista League will take their 2022 champions on a five-day trip to Colombia.

BY VASILEIA FANARIOTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT

Photos courtesy of The Barista League 

Coffee event producers The Barista League are back with another Mystery Coffee Vacation trip—and this time they’re heading to Colombia. In February 2023, The Barista League (TBL) will be taking their 2022 champions on a five-day trip around the coffee-producing country. This trip, made possible by Crypto Baristas, Need a Barista, BWT, and in partnership with Café Tío Conejo, will allow the champions to connect with local baristas, visit coffee farms, and participate in various educational activities.  

What’s in Store for the Champs 

The trip will begin with a two-day coffee festival in Manizales, followed by an educational conference, titled Conversatorio, which will feature TED Talk-style discussions from various Colombian coffee professionals. Next, there will be a spa day, then a visit to the Tío Conejo farm. There, the champions will delve deeper into various industry topics such as harvesting, processing, cupping, and sustainability. 

The Tio Conejo coffee farm in Colombia. In the foreground, there are palms and banana trees. Behind them on a small hill is a building with a thatch roof and covered porch. In the background a mountain rises up, covered in trees.
Café Tío Conejo produces specialty coffee in Manizales, Colombia.

On the final night of the trip, back in Bogota, TBL will be hosting La Rumba Barista, a new event modeled on the success of their internationally renowned competitions. There will be three rounds of fast-paced coffee competition, as well as music and lights, all with a Colombian twist! 

Ivanov Castellanos, the owner of Tío Conejo, recognizes TBL as a true partner in the farm’s coffee journey. “We are not orthodox in the way we move in the coffee world; we always want to go beyond the obvious, and we see in the Barista League a reflection of that philosophy,“ says Ivanov. “The Mystery Coffee Vacation is the opportunity to bring these champions to the coffee country par excellence, to introduce them to national baristas, and to give the coffee industry in Colombia a transformative, disruptive, and inclusive vision of living [with] coffee.”

An image of three Tio Conejo coffee bags sitting on what may be a red porch. Three different Colombian varieties in kraft paper bags with different colored labels. Behind them is a blue sky with fluffy clouds and palm leaves.
The Barista League is partnering with Café Tío Conejo for its Mystery Coffee Vacation this year.

A Trip to Connect 

This year marks the second iteration of the Mystery Coffee Vacation; the first took place in 2019 in Seoul, South Korea. Six champions from across the globe came together for workshops, learned how to brew makgeolli, and even helped produce The Barista League: Seoul. 

The focus of this year’s trip is connection. It will provide an opportunity for baristas from around the world to meet and work together, as well as connect with baristas and coffee producers in Colombia. This is an exciting opportunity for them to learn more about the coffee industry in Colombia and discover what goes on at the farm level. 

One male and one female barista, both wearing black turtlenecks and gloves, are creating craft beverages. One holds a strainer over a cocktail glass while the other strains liquid into it from a cocktail shaker.
The Barista League competitions put working baristas in fun coffee events to showcase their skills.

Steve Moloney, founder of TBL, believes that lowering the barriers to entry in the coffee industry does not mean lowering the quality of an event. “The participants of the 2022 Mystery Coffee Vacation are proof of this. We have an incredible and diverse set of champion baristas from around the world who are at the absolute top of their game, and we are so excited for them to be able to connect with each other and with the communities in Colombia,“ he says. 

Five people on the Bolivian team. One woman in all black, one on in peach clothes, wearing a headscarf. They are raising their arms together. Another woman in a baseball cap and ponytail is clapping. Two men are laughing and pointing at each other.
Team Bolivia hears the winning news at a Barista League event.

If you want to know more about this year’s Mystery Coffee Vacation, stay tuned to the Barista League’s website and social media channels for announcements. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a senior online correspondent for Barista Magazine, and a freelance copywriter and editor with a primary focus on the coffee niche. She has also been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, providing content to help educate people about baristas and their work. You can follow her adventures at thewanderingbean.net.

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