The world’s most talented Baristas converged on Colombo recently to showcase their skills at one of the most prestigious events in its field, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf World Barista Competition 2016.
Hosted in Sri Lanka for the very first time, the event drew over 100 competitors of various nationalities including teams visiting from the USA, Japan, Korea, Singapore, China, Malaysia, East Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, The Philippines, Cambodia, India, Bangladesh, Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Georgia.
Organised in line with Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) rules – the world’s foremost authority on coffee and the largest coffee trade association globally – competitors were given just 15 minutes to brew and serve three types of espresso based coffee drinks – an espresso, a cappuccino, and a ‘signature’ drink, to a panel of sensory and technical judges, translating to four of each type of drink simultaneously or a total of 12 drinks.
Each of the preparations were assessed for smell, taste, and quality of preparation presentation, while the ‘specialty drink’ will provide contestants with the opportunity to showcase their creativity and skill in infusing their own unique twist to a standard espresso based beverage – a popular aspect of the competition which in the past has yielded several unique and inventive drinks.
“We take great pride in having Sri Lanka be chosen to host such a prestigious event in the world of specialty coffee. We believe this recognition is a testament to the growth and development of the Coffee Bean brand in Sri Lanka while the event itself will serve to only showcase the impressive strides that we made as a franchise but also in terms of the truly unique character of Sri Lanka as a destination.”
“Working with our hospitality partners – OZO, The Galle Face and the Hilton – we are confident that we will be able to provide an exceptional platform from which to showcase to our talented competitors, respected judges, and international support teams the true meaning of Sri Lankan hospitality and hopefully encourage them to make a return visit in future.” Calamander Group Chairman, Roman Scott, owner and operator of the Sri Lankan franchise of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® said.
Minister of Tourism John Amaratunga was present to officially open the event together with the Chief Operating Officer of the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Asia Pacific, Eric Foo.
Notably, this year’s event also sought to incorporate Sri Lanka’s own rich heritage in tea with a brand new extension to the competition to include a Global Tea Master-class and a visit to a tea estate for participants – an important and timely lesson given that all black tea used in tea blends by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® served in 30 countries globally originates from Sri Lanka’s Bogawantalawa region – a major value added success story for the Sri Lankan tea industry.
The tea master class was conducted by The Coffee Bean’s Senior Director of Tea, Mr. David De Candia who flew in from Los Angeles. Appointed as ‘Ceylon Tea Ambassador for the US and Canada’ in 2014 by the Sri Lankan Tea Board, De Candia is the brand’s Global Master Tea Blender and Buyer and an internationally reputed expert on tea.
Roman Scott, Managing Director of International Brands Ceylon Pvt. Ltd, served on the panel of judges for the event together with Mohamed Lamzara from Gruppo La Cimbali, Hafezul Rahman Abdullah, Franchise Business Manager, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Sarah Leong, Franchise Trainee Manager, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
OZO Hotels provided rooms and meeting facilities during the event while The Galle Face Hotel’s historic terrace was the host to a sumptuous Gala dinner and the Hilton’s popular Curry Leaf restaurant provided the event’s international guests with the opportunity to get a taste some of Sri Lanka’s dishes famous the world-over.
The competition’s espresso machines were sponsored by Waverley Pvt. Ltd, the local agents in Sri Lanka for top-of-the-line La Cimbali espresso machines including today’s most advanced M100 model which will be specially installed for the competition.
Meanwhile, Fonterra served as dairy partners to the competition, through their flagship brand of Anchor Fresh Milk, the preferred choice of Coffee Bean for best quality dairy products.