International Coffee Day celebrated with the return of Barista Championships

Today’s International Coffee Day (1 October) will be celebrated with the gathering of 28 top baristas who are travelling from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to Amsterdam where they will share their passion and skills for ethically-sourced coffee. These 28 baristas have all won the coveted title of National Barista Champion, and now they will attempt to take their coffee craft expertise one step further – competing to be named Starbucks EMEA Barista Champion 2018.

This year’s Barista Championships are taking place at the Amsterdam Roasting Plant and Starbucks stores across the capital on 3rd, 4th and 5th October. The championships are a showcase of the finest skills and knowledge within the coffee industry as well as an opportunity for the baristas to show off their coffee craft talent. During the three day battle each barista’s bar skills, coffee tasting expertise, creativity and latte art will be put to the test by the judging panel, before the 2018 Champion is crowned.

From Deutschland to Denmark or Saudi Arabia to South Africa – the baristas journey to Amsterdam commenced almost 12 months ago when regional championships began across our 40 EMEA markets. All championships comprise of three key elements: Barista Craft, Signature Beverage and Personal Coffee Tastings. Baristas showcase their latte art skills, create their own signature beverage using ingredients that currently exist in Starbucks stores and provide a coffee tasting of their choosing. That tasting may include a food pairing, music or any other sensory experience that enhances the coffee experience. After several rounds of competitions, 28 national champions were crowned and now only one can take home the golden pitcher and rare EMEA Barista Champion purple apron.

The country champions have been tirelessly finessing their latte art and International Coffee Day signals the final day of practice. The baristas practice also includes deepening their knowledge of Starbucks most recent achievements to help strengthen the long-term stability of the coffee industry.  Barista Champions are not only impressive coffee craftspeople, but also ambassadors of Starbucks ethical sourcing – here are the recent achievement they’ll be sharing when the finals kicks-off this Wednesday:

This year has seen significant investment in the opening of Hacienda Alsacia Visitor Centre in Costa Rica – Starbucks first coffee farm that’s open to the public as well as serving as a global Research and Development Centre into issues such as coffee leaf rust.

99% of Starbucks coffee is verified ethically-sourced by Conservation International and under our C.A.F.E. Practices programme. The remaining 1% reflects the small coffee farms where Starbucks can have the most impact – bringing new resources and support to farmers. This also allows Starbucks to open new coffee markets and share small-lot coffees with customers around the world – all while bringing farming communities along on the journey to its ethical sourcing standard.

Starbucks is also donating up to $20 million to temporarily relieve smallholder farmers in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador, as record low coffee prices leave them struggling to cover basic production costs during the upcoming harvest season.

Starbucks also recently donated 2 million disease-resilient coffee seeds to help farmers on Puerto Rico, following the hurricane reboot the coffee industry, and to date, has invested more than $100 million in supporting coffee communities.

Collaborative farmer programmes and activities – including Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, farmer support centres, farmer loans and forest carbon projects – improve farmer livelihoods and ensuring a long-term supply of high-quality coffee for the industry.

To learn more about Starbucks C.A.F.E practices, click here: www.starbucks.co.uk/responsibility/ethicalsourcing/ourcoffee