For a while there, it looked like Guatemala wouldn’t have a barista championship this year… which sucked especially hard since the reigning World Barista Champion is from Guatemala! When the national organizing committee wasn’t able to put it on, 2012 WBC Champ Raul Rodas, and his friend and business partner at Paradigma Coffee, Roukiat Delrue, decided to do it themselves.
True, there are few people who would be better to pull off putting a national barista competition together in the space of a few weeks, with no sponsorship money or infrastructure to start with—after all, Raul has been competing—and winning—the Guatemalan Barista Championship for years now, and Rouki—who is of Belgian descent but has lived and worked in coffee in Guatemala for more than a decade, not to mention, is the National Bodies Coordinator for the World Coffee Events organization. But still: this task seemed impossible when Raul told Barista Magazine’s publisher, Kenneth Olson, about it when they were traveling together in Costa Rica with Cafe Imports in March.
But Rouki and Raul not only pulled it off, they produced a fantastic event, with certified judges and a stellar field of nine competitors. So let’s GIVE IT UP for Rouki and Raul, before we go any further—you guys are simply amazing. Rouki and Raul worked with a new organization, ECE Guatemala, to make this thing happen.
The 2013 Guatemalan Barista Championship took place April 5, 6, and 7 at Fontabella Plaza, a beautiful outdoor mall in Guatemala City. The event featured am espresso bar and a brew bar, Rouki told me, “to help the audience learn the importance of these events and good coffee.”
Our 2012 World Barista Champion Raul earned his WBC Judges Certification, and both he and Rouki—herself a longtime WBC Judge—judged all nine of the competitors. They were joined by a team of experienced judges. And get this: all nine of the competitors had already competed before. So you can see that the baristas in Guatemala really wanted the competition to happen!
In the end, the new Barista Champion of Guatemala was determined to be Jose De la Peña. Congratulations, Jose! Jose will travel to Melbourne, Australia, in May to represent Guatemala at the 2013 World Barista Championship.
Well done, Team Guatemala!