Barista Magazine

JUN-JUL 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 29 of 107

P U L L : E V E N T S EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BARISTA LEAGUE'S UNITED STATES TOUR THIS SUMMER EUROPE'S COOLEST, MOST LIVELY, and most imaginative cof- fee event is coming to the United States this summer, and everyone's invited! After hosting popular events throughout Scandinavia and Europe—ranging from a full-fl edged 200+ attendee Barista League event, to an alleycat barista bike race in Copenhagen, to a collab event with HasBean at the London Coffee Festival—The Barista League (TBL) team is excited to fi nally take its fi rst trip Stateside. The Sweden-based TBL gang will embark on an Almost Famous-style road trip to Portland, Ore.; Kansas City, Mo.; Greenville, S.C.; and Philadelphia in late August into early September. You may be asking yourself, how exactly does this work? What are the rules? Who can sign up? What are the prizes? Well, for starters, the top prize is a trip for the overall winning team to journey to Colombia with Ally Coffee, where travel companions will be the World and United States coffee champions. And with a prize like this, you're probably assuming there's some sort of competitor entry fee, right? That's where you'd be wrong. "We want to create very low barriers to entry, whether that is fi nancial with high competitor fees or physical with competition anxiety—we aim to eliminate as many of those barriers as possible," says Barista League founder Steve Moloney, who himself is a two-time Swedish Barista Champion. "The Barista League is about bringing people together in the coffee industry where the attendees, compet- itors, judges, volunteers, and event organizers can all interact with each other. Also, we always have competitors in teams of two because having that buddy to bounce ideas off of reduces those nervous—but natural—competition jitters." The Barista League was created based on a very simple idea: to make barista competitions fun again, "a competition for baristas, by baristas," as Steve puts it. What started as a small event in Sweden has grown into the greatest counter barista competition in Europe, with teams from Lithuania, Russia, the U.K., Denmark, Ukraine, Norway, and elsewhere. Now it's time to tap into the ever-growing, dynamic American coffee scene. The dates: The Barista League's U.S.A. Tour kicks off in Port- land at Black Rabbit Service Co. on August 30, after which it heads to Kansas City, where Workbench Coffee Labs will host the second event. Then on September 6, The Barista League hits Greenville, where the third tour date will go down at Ally Coffee's headquarters, after which the gang heads to TBL USA's fi nal stop: Ultimo Coffee in Philadelphia, on September 8. Team registration opens on July 10 at Here's how the events will shake down: Rounds 1 and 2 are put on simultaneously, so that attendees making their way through the space will always have something to watch and interact with. Competitors aren't put on a stage where those attending have to look up from their mundane Facebook scrolling to see if something mildly exciting is happening. They are the event. "We try to create a relaxed environ- ment for networking that still boasts some of the biggest names in the coffee industry," says Steve. "And that's the thing: A new barista working at their local café can come to one of our events and not feel intimidated, but instead feel excited about learning from the other competitors, who may be either super experienced or just participat- ing in competing for the fi rst time." Having said all this, The Barista League is still a competition. Here's how it works: PHOTOS BY LIV OMSEN 30 barista magazine

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