Groundbreaking Barista Education & Showcase Event Coming to Moscow’s Red Square in September

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For the past two years, the Russian specialty coffee company Soyuz Coffee Roasting has been exponentially increasing consumer awareness and appreciation of gourmet coffee through an entirely unique event: leave it to a Russian company who, when they want to make a splash, they make a tidal wave. The Specialty Coffee Show that Soyuz has been hosting in the legendary Red Square has delighted tens of thousands of Muscovites each September since 2011, when the company first brought together barista champions from around the world to serve Soyuz coffee and delight visitors to the annual International Military Music Festival, Spasskaya Tower.

The Specialty Coffee Show attracts tens of thousands of visitors each night for a week in early September, as part of the International Military Music Festival in Moscow's Red Square.

The Specialty Coffee Show attracts tens of thousands of visitors each night for a week in early September, as part of the International Military Music Festival in Moscow’s Red Square.

Specialty coffee is still brand new to the Russian market; though industry professionals know the names of respected specialty coffee roasting outfits such as Coffeemania, Double B Coffee & Tea, and of course, Soyuz, the city of Moscow alone has more than 11 million residents, meaning that existing high-end cafes only serve a small percentage of the population.

Soyuz Coffee Roasting has become one of the most popular brands of specialty coffee in Russia due to its careful sourcing and technically excellent roasting.

Soyuz Coffee Roasting has become one of the most popular brands of specialty coffee in Russia due to its careful sourcing and technically excellent roasting.

How would one begin to market specialty coffee, then, on a grand scale to Muscovites? The International Military Music Festival is a brilliant place to start. Attending this annual event, which brings together military bands from around the world in a week-long festival of dance, music, fireworks, and marching has become a family tradition for more than 100,000 Muscovites who attend the festival. As they enter Red Square, ticketed attendees must pass through the center of the Square, where Soyuz has erected a series of majestic tents, under which barista champions from Greece, Italy, El Salvador, Spain, the United States, Slovakia, Guatemala, and more are putting their skills to good use creating thousands of cappuccinos, espressos, and signature beverages for free, for all.

It's a week-long coffee celebration in Red Square at Soyuz Coffee Roasters' Specialty Coffee Show, which brings together champion baristas such as Pete Licata, Stefanos Domatiotis, Alejandro Mendez, and Francesco Sanapo.

It’s a week-long coffee celebration in Red Square at Soyuz Coffee Roasters’ Specialty Coffee Show, which brings together champion baristas such as Pete Licata, Stefanos Domatiotis, Alejandro Mendez, and Francesco Sanapo.

If they weren’t drawn to the tents by their size and grandeur, or by the 2-story coffee cup dangling in the sky above the tents, then these sould-be consumers are enticed by the nightclub atmosphere of the Specialty Coffee Show: electronic music (as well as old favorites to which the baristas happily and loudly sing along) pumps from the tents, and the outdoor seating area is roped off, with a line 50 people deep at all times stretching through the Square. You want to be here. You want to be a part of this. That’s the genius of the exhibition.

The event is staged like an exclusive nightclub: visitors pack the area for a chance to taste some Soyuz espresso and interact with these international barista superstars.

The event is staged like an exclusive nightclub: visitors pack the area for a chance to taste some Soyuz espresso and interact with these international barista superstars.

I have been incredibly fortunate to attend this event since it began in 2011. That first year, attendees didn’t really know what to think: they didn’t know specialty coffee, but they were excited to be a part of the party atmosphere. And once inside, they delighted in the entertaining baristas and the delicious coffee drinks. When the event rolled around last year, people looked forward to the Specialty Coffee Show—it had become part of the whole reason to attend the International Military Music Festival.

WBC Champion Pete Licata did a demonstration for a popular Moscow TV station.

WBC Champion Pete Licata did a demonstration for a popular Moscow TV station.

So now, in its third year, the Specialty Coffee Show is expanding and developing even more. This year, organizers Drago Lakic and Regina Vasilyeva of Soyuz introduce an exciting element: education! Working with founding partner Nuova Simonelli, Soyuz is excited to present the barista champions in a classroom setting: the festival begins in the early evening, but in the daytime, each barista champion will teach a class to professional baristas. Attendance costs a small amount—certainly a tiny price to pay for a front row seat with World Barista Champions Pete Licata (United States, 2013) and Alejandro Mendez (El Salvador, 2011); World Barista Championship finalists William Hernandez (El Salvador, 2013), Javier Garcia (Spain, 2011), Stefanos Domatiotis (Greece, 2010 & 2012), and Francesco Sanapo (Italy, 2013); World Brewers Cup Competitor Asli Yaman (Turkey, 2013); World Coffee In Good Spirits Champion Victor Delpierre (France, 2013); and World Latte Art Champion Christos Loukakis (Greece, 2011). Classes are between $45 and $50.

See the end of this article for a description of each class.

For the first time in 2013, Soyuz is expanding the Specialty Coffee Show to include daytime educational sessions taught by the international barista champions who are attending. See the bottom of this post for descriptions of each class.

For the first time in 2013, Soyuz is expanding the Specialty Coffee Show to include daytime educational sessions taught by the international barista champions who are attending. See the bottom of this post for descriptions of each class.

Other exciting elements of this year’s Specialty Coffee Show:

• The baristas will be preparing drinks and teaching classes on World Barista Championship Nuova Simonelli espresso machines!

• All grinders used will be Nuova Simonelli’s Mythos model

• For the first time, the event will feature a Slow Bar, where baristas—led by Turkish Brewers Cup Champion Asli Yaman—will prepare drinks using Chemex, V60, Clever, AeroPress, and Kalita brewing equipment.

We have all become like family over these past few years; I am delighted to once again be the invited journalist who will cover the event—look for my daily posts here on Barista Magazine’s blog throughout the event, September 1–8!

And the incredible team of Giovanni Fucili and Svetlana Titova of Nuova Simonelli will be in attendance to help the party last all night and keep the machines and grinders running smoothly: the equipment certainly gets a workout at this festival: tens of thousands of espresso drinks are prepared every night for a whole week!

The Specialty Coffee Show Featuring World Champion Baristas will be more exciting and educational than ever in 2013—I can hardly wait!

EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS (all classes taught in Red Square)

September 1, Noon–1:45 p.m.

“Art of Brewing Slow Coffees: CHEMEX, V60, CLEVER, AEROPRESS”

LEVEL: Intermediate

Speaker: STEFANOS DOMATIOTIS

Stefanos Domatiotis is the 2012 Greek Barista Champion. As the seven time reigning national barista champion of Greece, six time competitor at the World Barista Championship and winner of numerous other latte art and coffee events, Stefanos is one of the most decorated and recognized personalities working in specialty coffee today – a long way from his humble first job washing dishes in a coffee shop at age 12. When not competing on stage or traveling around the globe volunteering to help educate others in coffee growing countries, Stefanos is the barista trainer for TAF Coffee of Athens – Greece’s leading café and the first in that country to serve only specialty coffee.

The main goal of this seminar is for an attendee to understand what to expect from different methods of filter coffee preparation, while applying the proper technique. The lecture will cover relevant information along the coffee supply chain, with an essential focus on grinding, water quality, temperature and pouring techniques.

The plan is to have 45mins of theory, followed by 45-60mins of practical knowledge. All attendees will have a chance to taste & evaluate different coffees from different brewing methods.

Cost: 1500 rub.

 

September 2, Noon–1:45 p.m.
“Latte Art – CAPPUCCINO”
LEVEL: Advanced

Speaker: CHRISTOS LOUKAKIS

Christos Loukakis is the 2011 World Latte Art Champion. Chris hails from TAF Coffee of Athens, Greece, where he is a Barista Trainer. At an age of 27 and with already more than 10 years of industry experience behind him, Chris’ is one of the most prominent advocates of specialty coffee culture around the globe. Following his impressive success in World Latte Art & Brewers Cup Championships, Chris has been travelling to Central America, Europe and Asia, and enthusiastically sharing his knowledge and skills. Currently, under supervision of his friend and coach – Stefanos Domatiotis, Chris is preparing himself for Hellenic Barista Championship 2014. For this Latte Art champion, specialty coffee is an everyday challenge and way of life!

This class intends to cover in depth the topics of milk chemistry & steaming, different advanced pouring techniques & presentation styles while focusing on cappuccino beverage. Additionally, a NEW cappuccino technique will be revealed! Following the theoretical part, attendees will have a chance to practice their Latte Art one-on-one with Chris for about 1 hour.

Cost: 1750 rub.

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September 3, Noon–1:45 p.m.
“Grind and dosing – ESPRESSO”
LEVEL: Intermediate

Speaker: PETE LICATA

Pete Licata is the 2013 World Barista Champion! A career barista competitor hailing from Kansas City, USA, Pete is a veteran with 8 years experience as a competitive barista, including two second-place finishes for the U.S. champion title and an impressive 2nd place showing at 2011 World Barista Championship in Bogota, Colombia. Pete began serving coffee as a part time job while working his way through college, later becoming his full time profession and obsession. Currently, Pete serves as the quality assurance manager at Parisi Artisan Coffee in Kansas City. When not working with coffee, Pete enjoys practicing martial arts, studying and brewing craft beer and preparing any food (or sometimes drink) that includes bacon.

Pete’s presentation will entail discussion on how grind particles differ depending on the equipment manufacturer, finding the proper particle size and its effects on the flavour, dialing in the appropriate dose and how it affects the flavour, and how to adjust both grind particles size and does to get the best possible shot of espresso. All of the participants will have an opportunity to taste and evaluate different espressos.

Cost: 1500 rub.

 

September 6, Noon–1:45 p.m.
“Varieties. Processing. Impact on ESPRESSO”
LEVEL: Intermediate

Speaker: ALEJANDRO MENDEZ assisted by WILLIAM HERNANDEZ

Alejandro Mendez is the 2011 World Barista Champion! Two-time El Salvadorian Barista Champion is not only the first ever World Barista Champion from his country, but he is also the first ever from any coffee producing nation. True to his spirit and belief that coffee should be respected, he creatively used elements of the whole plant, including its flowers and outer skin of the raw coffee cherry to create his winning signature drink. Alejandro is a barista trainer & director of coffee at Viva Espresso in San Salvador, a small high quality coffee chain that also has direct access to some of its own coffees grown in El Salvador.

William Hernandez is the 2013 El Salvadorian Champion & under a watchful eye of his trainer Alejandro, William achieved an impressive 3rd place at 2013 World Barista Championship in Melbourne, Australia, incredibly, in his first year as a competitor! At only 22 years of age, William has set his goals at seeing the high-end specialty coffee reach a larger audience and be more widely available. Outside of coffee, William is interested in graphic design.

Salvadorian coffees have been immensely successful on the world coffee scene for the past couple of years, and this lecture will look into reasons behind such triumph, while focusing on coffee coming from some of the more prominent farms from this origin. The lecture will be broken down into two parts, theory and tasting:

Part 1: Growing NEW varieties, NEW coffee processing practices & understanding effects on espresso taste Part 2: Tasting espressos from different varieties & processing methods (Pacas, Bourbon, Pacamara, etc.)

Participants would have 45mins of theory and about 1 hour for espresso tastings and discussion with Alejandro.

Cost: 1500 rub.
September 7, Noon–1:45 p.m.
“Life of an ESPRESSO”
LEVEL: Advanced

Speaker: FRANCESCO SANAPO

Francesco Sanapo is the 2013 Italian Barista Champion & with his mind-blowing presentation on “life of espresso”, he deservedly took 6th place in this year WBC finals in Melbourne, Australia. This being said, coffee is not just a job, “it is a lifestyle” for this three time barista champion from the country credited as the birthplace of espresso. Francesco developed his passion for coffee at the young age of 10 working alongside his father in their family coffee bar. Francesco has been a professional barista for more than 15 years and now works as an independent consultant and trainer based in the Tuscany region of Central Italy. Francesco’s mission is to travel the world and communicate to younger generations the skill and art of being a barista.

Francesco will focus his presentation on Sensory Evaluation & Cup Tasting while emulating a teaching method practiced by CQI. Participants will be shown how different acids: citric, malic, phosphoric & acetic influence the taste of an espresso. Additionally, all participant will learn how to taste sweetness, bitterness & sapid sensation in coffee while performing a “tasting skill test”. Finally, Francesco will prepare his espresso WBC Nekisse N2 and share his view on ideal espresso. Seminar is planned with 45mins of theory in mind and about 1 hour for tastings and discussion with Francesco.

Cost: 1750 rub.

 

September 8, Noon–1:45 p.m.
“Roasting profiles. Defects. Cupping”
LEVEL: Intermediate

Speaker: JAVIER GARCIA assisted by ASLI YAMAN

Javier Garcia is the 2011 Spanish Barista Champion. The name of the small town in the Basque region of Northern Spain where Javier was born and lives called Irun means “fortified,” which is a perfect description of his own style as a competitive barista: strong and prepared. After many years of working as a bartender and barista, Javier experienced a spiritual “awakening” of specialty coffee just seven years ago, which has led him to become the first back-to-back 3 time barista champion (2009, 2010, 2011) from Spain and the highest ever placing Spanish competitor at a World Barista Championship. It comes without question that Javier is a leading force driving Spanish coffee culture by educating others about his firsthand experience as a barista and from the knowledge he has gained from trips to coffee growing countries around the world. Javier is a co-founder of Spanish specialty coffee roaster – Right Side Coffee.

Javier will be assisted by Asli Yaman, 2013 Turkish Brewers Cup Champion! For the past 3 years, Ms. Yaman has been occupying a role of Chief Roast Master at Soyuz Coffee Roasting Kaliningrad, Russia, where she oversees coffee buying, production and quality control of specialty coffee brands: Paretto, Mon Ami and Barista. Following her great enthusiasm towards competition and sharing coffee, this year she participated for the very first time and took a first place in a national competition in Turkey. Currently, Asli takes active part in trainings, workshops & seminars to promote the specialty coffee culture in Russia.

The lecture will be broken down into two parts, theory and cupping:

Part 1 Theory, 1 hour:
Introductory concepts of roasting will cover the topics about roasting stages, different roasters, heat transfer during roasting and the results. Furthermore, Javier will focus the attention on roasting profiles when addressing different varieties and different processing methods (Naturals/Washed/Decaf) with more talk on Organic Acids.

Part 2 Cupping Session, 45mins:
Cupping coffees with different Roast Profiles & Identifying the defects in Roasting, followed by a discussion.

Cost: 1500 rub.

 

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.