Sunday 23 June 2024
  • La Cimbali

Barista & Farmer gets into full swing and the challenge is heating up

Must read

  • TME - Cialdy Evo

PITALITO, Colombia – Barista & Farmer, the talent show dedicated to specialty coffee culture is finally getting into full swing: one competition after another, the two opposing teams, team Yukka Yukka, lead by Italian coffee lover Nino Conti, and team Six Monkeys, captained by 2011 WBC champion Alejandro Mendez are giving their best everyday to get the upper hand.

The practical challenges, such as the picking competition and the depulping machine test, are strictly connected to the classes promoted by the prestigious Academy of Barista & Farmer, once again directed by Alberto Polojac.

And a strictly connection is the one that ties Colombia, the second world producing country of Arabica coffee (and first one for Arabica washed) and Italy, the second importer in Europe – after Germany – of coffee from this Latin America country.

“Barista & Farmer’s Academy, this year, develops in three different courses – explains the italian director – because besides the ones for the baristas, we have classes for the SENA instructors and for the local producers.

For the baristas there’s a class the ranges between botanic, agronomy, sensorial analysis, an overview of several different production methods, besides what is done on the field, green analysis, quality control and a Sca intermediate certification focused on sensory and roasting. For the producers, instead, there’s a freer education held by Andrea Matarangolo, a trainer of our Academy.”

“For a barista, to go to a plantation in a country of origin – continued Polojac – have fun, because at the base of this talent there’s also this element, to receive an education on a subject like roasting which is a competence that usually a barista doesn’t possess, well, that’s the total package because from an agronomical and botanical standpoint, they can finally touch first hand what they only saw in books before, and therefore complete their education since they are already well trained baristas.”


“The background experience of these baristas is extremely high – concluded the italian coffee expert – they are all well prepared, almost all of them could easily be classified head barista. Colombian coffee, considering mostly the two preminent qualities, Colombia and Castillo, have strong notes of caramel, with a rich body an a balanced acidity, that’s what usually is sought after in an italian espresso and, in fact, it’s the second Arabica coffee, in terms of imported volumes, after Brazil.”

The fourth day of challenges and tests saw the ten top international baristas move toward finca Santa Ana, runned by 21years old Lina Roja, the fourth generation in a family of coffee producers.

“I think that her example – said Francesco Sanapo, creator of the talent show – was the real lesson for today. I mean, to witness a fourth generation, a young woman, that establishes herself working the land, a job that is often considered humble.. well, here it can open many doors and provide many opportunities. A rolemodel, positive, for our baristas and a great shared moment.”

Once again, the arrival of the baristas in the finca was welcomed by many people and bystanders who wanted to say hello to the contestants and take pictures with them.

Chiva, the super-colored bus used to move around the tortuous streets of Huila

The picking competition was won by team Six Monkeys: during the morning, the contestants also had the chance to produce sugarcane juice, a typical local drink. The immersion in the Colombian culture continued with a ride on a Chiva, the super-colored bus used to move around the tortuous streets of Huila.

The afternoon was again spent in the Academy, with the second part of the class with australian roaster champion Ben Toovey of Genovese Coffee Roaster, which concluded the Sca, Specialty Coffee Association course for the baristas of the school.

On the fifth day, instead, the coffee picking took place in finca Paraiso: here, some representatives of CadefiHuila, Cooperativa Departamental de Caficultores del Huila, which is partner of the event, wanted to honor the barista’s hard work in the plantation by throwing a little party for them, with music and dances. The afternoon’s academy was held by Alberto Polojac on the sensory world of coffee: how to approach a tasting, what is the right terminology, what are the evaluation criteria.

The talent show continues tomorrow: after the harvesting and weighing competitions at Finca El Mirador the day continues with Barista Academy lessons on the coffee processing methods, from washed to natural, to discover many different and innovative methods and understand how they affect the flavour of the coffee in the cup. In the afternoon, shopping for local products at the central market of Pitalito followed by a cooking competition. During the day, the competitors can try Tejo, the Colombian national sport, also known as Turmeque, a sport of indigenous origin which consists in hitting a target containing gunpowder with a metal disc, throwing it from a distance of 20 m.

The fifth episode of Barista & Farmer

Barista & Farmer was conceived by Francesco Sanapo, several-times award-winning champion barista, in collaboration with Italian Exhibition Group and SIGEP – International Exhibition of Artisanal Gelato, Pastry, Bakery and Coffee, under the patronage of theSCA – Speciality Coffee Association, with institutional partners IILA – Italian-Latin American Organization, SENA – Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (National Learning Service), Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia and Gobernación del Huila, in partnership with World Coffee Events, Lavazza with the iTierra! project and the support of La Cimbali, Faema, Mumac Academy, Urnex, Genovese Coffee; golden media partners Barista Magazine and Bargiornale; media partners include Bean Scene Magazine, News, Coffee T&I, Coffee Talk, Crema, Espresso Magazine, European Coffee Trip, Roast Magazine and Comunicaffè.


Latest article

  • Franke Mytico
  • Dalla Corte