Organizers of the 2nd Philippine National Barista Championship say the skill levels of Filipino baristas are among the best in the region, but it’s still a long way to go to beat highly trained countries in East Asia such as Japan.
Where should local baristas focus their training time at? Leo de Leon, president/general manager of Allegro Beverage Corporation, and May Juan, executive director of Association of Filipino Baristas, Inc. (AFBI), agree that a farm-to-table knowledge would significantly boost the competence of locals. Baristas often fail to understand their coffee beans, which is critical in acing the sensory component of international competitions.
Sanctioned by World Coffee Events and organized by AFBI (Allegro one of the sponsors), the 2nd Philippine National Barista Championship aims to encourage baristas to beef up their competence across the entire value chain of coffee making. The winner of PNBC will represent the Philippines in the 2015 World Barista Championship in Seattle, U.S.
Interested contestants should complete the online registration through the official competition website www.philippinenationalbaristachampionship.com. The first 30 online registrants will get a slot at the preliminary rounds on October 15-16 at Treston International College. The top six scorers from the preliminary rounds will move to the finals on October 17 at Resorts World Manila.
On the contest proper, each competitor must prepare four espressos, four cappuccinos, and four original non-alcoholic espresso-based signature beverages of their own creation and serve them to a panel of four PNBC certified sensory judges, all within a 15-minute time frame. Two PNBC certified technical judges will score competitors on procedures, consistency, cleanliness and other technical details. One WBC certified judge will oversee the judging panel and ensure that each competitor has been fairly scored by the judges.
This year, it was a barista by the name of Kevin Israel who represented the country at one of the world’s most prestigious coffee competition. “Kevin’s participation in WBC gave an excellent exposure for our coffee industry, especially since it is the first tiime for the Philippines to join the world’s most prestigious coffee competition,” says Leon.
The organizers have noted how WBC competitors demonstrated expertly knowledge not just on delivery and service of coffee, but most importantly on farming and roasting the beans.