London Coffee Festival April 7th-10th 2016
Coffee Masters is a fast-paced, multi-disciplinary global barista tournament that sees some of the industry’s best baristas compete head-to-head. Judged by a panel of industry figureheads, the fast-paced knockout battle format of Coffee Masters sees 16 baristas showcase their skills head-to-head across a broad range of disciplines such as; cupping, brewing, latte art, order challenge and the signature drink. We are over the moon that one of our own made it to the final 16 to be a part of this new and exciting competition. Manuel Borsato has been at Climpson & Sons a few years now, working his way from Barista to Head Barista in our Broadway Market Café to now Trainer and Roaster in our Roastery at Climpson’s Arch.
Here is a little bit about his time in the competition.
First of all, I’m proud to say that I was one of the top competitors of the Coffee Masters. This was my first attempt to ever compete in this competition and even though it was a huge challenge I thoroughly enjoyed it, placing 5th out of the 16 competitors. Countless hours were spent down at Climpson’s Arch Roastery preparing, researching and practicing for the 7 different disciplines with the support of my fellow roasters. All of the disciplines revolve around the coffee world including all aspects from the industry, from cupping, brewing, to preparing a cocktail and a ‘real world’ café order where you’ve got to beat the clock. It was exciting to be up on stage with such highly skilled and talented baristas from around the world. Each one having their own strong points and bringing something unique to the competition. This industry involves a lot of ‘trial and error’ and this competition allows you to harness your control and challenge yourself at the highest level.
With it being my first time ever competing in this environment I was nervous as I was unsure of what to expect, but at the same time I had a quiet confidence. The experience pointed out to me some of my weaker areas and gives me a direction to work harder on for my next time competing, hopefully at Coffee Masters at the New York Coffee Festival in Septemeber!
The Coffee industry is continuing to change rapidly and the Barista craft is growing with it. A lot of research and development goes into it, from equipment, coffee sourcing, roasting and extraction techniques. What is special about Coffee Masters, as a competition, is it focuses on these many different aspects that we must learn as Baristas. It allows us to demonstrate and open up the world of a barista to the public.
My favourite challenge was definitely the cupping challenge. Testing my palate with such great coffee is the best way to improve my knowledge about different origins and aromas of coffee. Hours were spent cupping and learning about the orgin of coffee and the characteristics you expect to find in coffee from specific origins. Possibly one of the most challenging disciplines, but for me, it was the most rewarding.
The challenge that I was a bit afraid for was the Signature Drink because I actually had never made a cocktail before, especially with the judges and audiences eyes on me! However, turns out I really ended up enjoying this part of the competition, it allowed me to show off a bit of creativity and it’s a different way to experiment with ingredients, flavours and coffee.
I would like to thank all the great people who were involved in organizing the event and the London coffee Festival. It was great to be a part of all the amazing coffee to prove once again that the London coffee scene is a game changer in this industry.