Welcome to DC Campus!

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Good morning from Milano, where the second annual DC Campus has just kicked off. This three-day program is organized and produced by Dalla Corte espresso machines, which is the espresso machine sponsor of the World Latte Art Championship and the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, both of which will be held at the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe’s World of Coffee event in Nice, France, in late June.

A sign that you're in a Coffee in Good Spirits practice area.

A sign that you’re in a Coffee in Good Spirits practice area.

In 2012, Dalla Corte created DC Campus to serve as a community gathering and skill-building exercise for the national champions who were headed into the World Latte Art Championship or World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship. The three-day event brings together baristas with a common goal, and gives them a space to practice, learn from judges, and get to know each other.

Old friends and new, meeting at DC Campus registration.

Old friends and new, meeting at DC Campus registration.

Last year’s DC Campus was such a success that it is taking place again this year here in Milan in Dalla Corte loft space, which is a spacious training area with an auditorium for discussions when the baristas are taking turns on the machines. This morning was the beginning of the event, and we all got acquainted over some mighty tasty pastries and coffees provided by Cafes Richard of France.

Paolo Dalla Corte (foreground) gets his machines (literally, HIS machine) dialed in.

Paolo Dalla Corte (foreground) gets his machines (literally, HIS machine) dialed in.

Once everyone was assembled in the meeting room, some time was taken to explain each of the sponsors’ involvement: Of course, Dalla Corte, as well as Mahlkönig (Official Grinder Sponsor of the World Latte Art Championship (WLA) and the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship (WCIGS)), Urnex (Official Cleaning Product Sponsor for the WLA and WCIGS Championships), along with the cooperation of Latte Centrale di Brescia, d’Ancáp, and Cafes Richard. Alpro is here to provide soy milk for the baristas to play with, as well as use in what’s going to be a super fun soy milk latte art throwdown on Sunday.

Leave it to the Norwegians to whip out an AeroPress!

Leave it to the Norwegians to whip out an AeroPress!

The always awesome Sonja Grant, who is here on behalf of the World Coffee Events organization (the parent organization of the WLA, WCIGS, World Barista Championship, and other coffee contests), introduced herself to the baristas—many of whom she judged in their national championships), and explained what would happen here on day one of DC Campus. After lunch, the WCIGS competitors would take turns on the sparkling Dalla Corte espresso machines in the main training space, practicing their Irish Coffees and techniques, while the WLA competitors spend time with Sonja in the meeting room thoroughly going through the rules and getting their questions answered.

That’s where we are right now: just waiting for this second part of day one to begin. So far it’s been thrilling to be here to witness all of this: not only have latte art and CIGS competitors not typically gotten the attention afforded to World Barista Championship competitors, but they rarely have an opportunity to talk with judges, practice for hours on machines, learn stage presence (which we’ll spend Sunday doing), and also get to build friendships among themselves.

As we wait for lunch to wind down, here are some great photos from the morning…

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.