Memories of Moscow

I can’t believe it’s almost time for me to head back to Portland, Ore. — my flight leaves on Thursday morning, and by air travel magic, I return to Portland a few hours later on Thursday evening. I have been here in Moscow only 4 days. but it feels like it’s been one crazy year—in the best possible way.

Look for an in-depth article about all that the national barista champions representing: Greece, Italy,  Spain, Netherlands, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Slovakia accomplished while here in Moscow as guests of Soyuz Coffee Roasting at the annual Spasskaya Tower festival on Red Square. We’re the ones under the giant cappuccino cup, in the shadow of Saint Basil’s Cathedral. It’s been an amazing thing to see how such a unique event, both last year and this year, not just contributed but drove the massive development of specialty coffee culture in Moscow, population 13 million.

My article will appear in the October/November 2012 issue, but until then, I’ll leave you with these incredible, emotional and special photos from the last few days…

Baristas from both Team 1 (who worked the first half of the festival) and Team 2 (who in this photo had just arrived in Moscow to work the last half of the Festival). They were all together for one incredible night on Wednesday.

The baristas are so excited to be all together in the VIP tent on Red Square

At the close of the coffee tent on Wednesday, Soyuz presented Team 1 baristas with certificates of appreciation.

Chris of Greece and Raul of Guatemala sample the signature cocktails in the VIP tent.

At the close of the festival each night, there are amazing fireworks and music. (Also, big thanks to Giovanni from Nuova Simonelli, who took a lot of these photos!)

Asli and Monika don their new barista uniforms!

The energy at the Specialty Coffee Show was never as alive as it was on Team 1’s last night! The entire tent full of people was dancing!

Full disclosure: we had a wild night last night, as Team 1 said goodbye, and happily initiated Team 2 to the ways of baristas working Red Square (vodka and pepper, anyone?). This morning, after saying goodbye to all the members of Team 1 with tears and hugs, Javier made Aeropress of his new company’s beans Right Side Coffee, for us before we headed to visit Stalin’s Bunker.

Drago in one of the hundreds of tunnels carved out 80 meters underground, for the bunker—actually one of many bunkers, but the only one open to the public.

Chris takes a seat at one of the two actual stations that would have been used to launch a nuclear weapon. It was incredibly disturbing and freaky inside the bunker.

Scale model of the bunker. At right, you see the model of the fake house at street level. Built to look like a regular neighborhood housein 1956, it was only revealed that this secret bunker large enough to keep 500 people alive for 6 months after nuclear war, existed in 2006.

The Kazakhstan Military Orchestra visited the coffee tent today especially for the baristas. They played music in the tent and enjoyed Soyuz coffee!

When the espresso machines are ready to go, Giovanni and Svetlana start dancing!

A very special night: I brought Barista Magazine tshirts for everyone, as well as copies of the WBC issue so that Raul could sign them for everyone. I didn’t ask everyone to put the shirts on — they just decided to do it themselves, and it made me cry! I love these guys!

The Kazakhstan Military Orchestra visited the coffee tent this afternoon to play especially for the barista champions! They were awesome!

 

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.