Dale Harris winning World Barista Championship 2017 in Seoul. Image credit Coffee Business World.

Catapult your career in coffee with competitions

The current World Barista Champion is the UK’s Dale Harris, wholesale director at Has Bean, a coffee roastery in Stafford. World champ.  1st place out of 7 billion! Or, more accurately, out of the 58 national champions competing at the worlds.

When Dale won the UK Barista Championship last year, he won a free trip to Seoul, South Korea to represent the UK at the World Barista Championships. Over a 15 minute routine, he brilliantly discussed his research on how flavours in coffee relate to the work of producers at origin, all while serving 12 coffees to a series of judges. And in doing so, Dale made it to the top of the barista world.

But hold on – let’s take a step back and acknowledge that your average person isn’t aware that barista competitions even exist.

What are the World Barista Championships?

The World Barista Championships (WBC’s) are a series of competitions designed to promote and celebrate specialty coffee. The WBC’s reference seven separate coffee competitions, which are held annually. They are attended by national competition winners from across the world. The competitions consist of:

  • World Barista Championship (on an espresso machine, serving espressos, milky drinks and signature beverages during a 15 minute routine)
  • World Brewers Cup (hand brewing only)
  • World Latte Art
  • World Cup Tasters (show off your sensory skills)
  • World Coffee Roasting
  • World Coffee In Good Spirits (coffee cocktails!)
  • Cevze/Ibrik (Traditional Turkish method)

What’s in it for me?

“Nothing has accelerated my learning as a barista as much as competing has” – Every barista that has ever competed

Whether you’re new to coffee or a veteran of the industry, competitions are an excellent way to improve your skills and knowledge, as well as build your network and understanding of the wider coffee industry. This also applies if you’re attending an event or volunteering, and certainly if you start judging.

How can I get involved?

Image credit London Coffee Festival

First of all, if you’re a Well Grounded Graduate, you’re already involved – the technical skills you developed in achieving your Foundation Barista certification are based on the technical scoresheets used by judges in the barista competition!

The next event to watch competitions or volunteer at is the London Coffee Festival, this April 12th to 15th at the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, East London.

If you are a Well Grounded Graduate and you want to get involved, you can get in touch with us at info@wellgroundedjobs.co.uk  

Cool beans!

Written by Mark Lamberton, Head of Coffee. Published 2 March 2018.