Welcome to Vienna, and the 2012 World Barista Championship!

What a beautiful city Vienna is—we’re all so excited to be here for the 2012 World Barista Championship!

Vienna, Austria—where the horses wear hats and everyone eats cake.

After I arrived via Amsterdam in mid-afternoon, I met up with photographer extraordinaire, Amanda Wilson, and headed to the Barista Meet & Greet Party at Mokador cafe in the center of the city’s pedestrian historic district. It was beautiful.

Amanda and I hopped on the subway at our hotel and emerged in this spectacular square.

Upon arriving, we were greeted with so many happy faces! But take my word for it—the party was subdued: these baristas know they have some serious work ahead of them this week for the World Barista Championship: the preliminary round of 53 competitors begins tomorrow at 8 a.m., and continued through end of day Wednesday, when the 12 semifinalists will be announced. The semifinal round will commence on Thursday, with a final six baristas vying for the title of 2012 World Barista Champion on Friday.

This must be the place!

Two of my favorite women in coffee: Anna, owner of Koffein in Russia, and Olga, the Russian Barista Champion.

2011 World Barista Champion Alejandro Mendez was in attendance at the Barista Meet & Greet Party, but this year, as the coach of the current Barista Champ of El Salvador, Daniel Mendez (no, they're not related by blood -- just coffee).

The WBC isn’t the only event going on at the SCAE’s World of Coffee Event here in Vienna this week: The World Brewers Cup, The World Ibrik, The World Cup Tasters, and the brand new Roasters Challenge, will also take place.

2011 & 2012 United States Brewers Cup Champ Andy Sprenger from Ceremony Coffee Roasters in Maryland, with Ceremony owner, Vince, at the Barista Meet & Greet.

And closing out the evening came some exciting news from World Coffee Events organizer and grand poo-bah, Cindy Ludviksen: the 2013 World Barista Championship and World Brewers Cup events will take place in Melbourne, Australia, in May 2013!!

But let’s focus on this year: competition starts tomorrow morning, bright and early. For a list of the competitors and their performance times, go HERE.

And stay tuned right here on Barista Magazine’s blog, as well as on our Facebook page, for updates and photos throughout this week!

I’m pumped! How about you?

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.