Some people—some companies—really believe in baristas. They read the passion and enthusiasm for which the best baristas are known as a sign of not only the present, and how great these baristas are making our industry, but as the future. And the specialty importing company, Cafe Imports, is a leader in this context.
Fresh on the heels of its generous presence as the host sponsor of the Barista Guild of America‘s first annual Camp Pull-A-Shot, Cafe Imports just announced an impressive and groundbreaking new sponsorship for the winners of the United States Regional Barista Competition winners, the 2011 United States Barista Champion, as well as the 2011 World Barista Championship: they will all be invited on a trip to a coffee producing country together to learn about harvest and processing, as well as the barista culture of the region.
You read that right: Cafe Imports will pay for all six winners of the 2011 Regional Barista Competitions, as well as the USBC and WBC champs to travel to source. Can you even imagine the kind of crazy fun that trip’s gonna be? What’s even more outstanding is that Cafe Imports has committed to this sponsorship for the next three years!
I’ve been lucky enough to tag along with barista groups from the Scandinavian countries when they visit coffee producing countries; such trips are traditionally part of the win for the barista teams that compete in the annual Nordic Barista Cup. But such a trip, as a prize, has never been offered to baristas from the United States until now.
So is that enough motivation to get going on your practice for the upcoming Regional Barista Competitions? The first one of the year is the Northwest Regional, which—hosted graciously by Dillanos—will take place January 28–30 in Tacoma, Washington. Dates for the other five regionals have yet to be announced.
Cafe Imports has not yet decided which producing country will be the destination yet; more details to come on that as they are announced. Stay tuned! And get practicing!