We who work in the coffee industry—as baristas, roasters, cuppers, cafe owners, and even the few like me who get to write about them for a living—have it pretty good, for a lot of reasons. But one of the best reasons is the way we celebrate together. Perhaps one of the earliest amazing barista parties I went to took place after the 2004 World Barista Championship in Trieste, Italy, when we danced in a courtyard by the sea drinking champagne and then an enormous storm happened, and we had no place to take shelter except one tiny bar. With everyone crammed inside, John Sanders and I decided to instead sit on the ground under a table, champagne glasses in hand. The music was still going, and we were rather comfortable down there, so when the rain suddenly stopped, we continued sitting crosslegged under that table, making funny faces at the people who emerged from the shelter of the bar to take our photo.
So maybe it’s not all that surprising that one of the best parties in recent memory—the one we had last night at DC Campus—also took place in Italy, and also took place with barista champions. This is what happens when you have 30 of the most talented baristas in one place, on a balmy night in Milan, with countless pizza pies, a great stereo system, and some top shelf alcohol. There was beer, too, for the party. But this event is about Coffee In Good Spirits Champions (as well as Latte Art Champs) honing their skills for the international event they will compete in in June. And when bartenders are drinking the drinks they’re creating, they taste pretty damn good.
Here are some photos from a beautiful night full of dancing, singing, making coffee, and developing friendships.
In the end though, nothing really mattered except that every person in this group was together. We’re emotional—we’ve really bonded over the past 3 days at DC Campus. How could we have anything BUT fun together?