The Specialty Coffee Expo took place from October 15-18 in Corferias, when 13,000 visitors came to taste coffee from around the country at the most important coffee fair not only in Colombia, but also Latin America and the Caribbean. This annual fair is organized by the National Coffee Federation of Colombia (Federación Nacional de Cafeteros (FNC).
On October 15 the finals for the 10th Colombian Barista Championship got underway; 31 baristas were pared down to 12, and then six. Second and third places went to Ronald Valero from Juan Valdez Café and Diego Campos from Amor Perfecto.
Mauricio Romero, national barista champion
First place went to Mauricio Romero. As the 10th National Barista Champion for Colombia he will go on to represent his country next year in the World Barista Championship in Dublin, Ireland.
“When I heard my name announced, I really couldn’t believe it. It is a great honor and it makes me very happy to receive this recognition,” states Mauricio Romero. He represented Azahar Coffee, but knows that his role goes beyond a brand or region: “It is a huge responsibility to represent the baristas in the World Championship, but my goal is to have a share in making known Colombia’s most important crop.”
Before the judges, Mauricio prepared 12 types of coffee from the Colombian department of Quindío. “The variety of coffee that I used is castillo naranjal, which comes from coffee growing regions in Caldas, Quindío, Risaralda and Valle.”
Participants should demonstrate their knowledge about the coffee they are serving – throughout the coffee production chain, from crop to cup – and brew a perfect, intense and aromatic cup of coffee. They prepare 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos and 4 original drinks – all in 15 minutes. Technique, skill, and creativity are all needed. For his signature drink, Mauricio added two ingredients – cacao and honey – showing his support of families in Apartadó that make a living off of cacao production.
On the other side of the cup, Manuel Peña was chosen as the National Cupping Champion and will represent the country in the World Cup Tasters in Shanghai, China.