Alejandro Méndez wins! Viva Espresso wins! Latin America wins!
I have made no secret here of my love for Viva Espresso, an incredible café in San Salvador whose single-serve, single-origin, Cup-of-Excellence estate coffees are the best I have had anywhere in the Americas. So I was delighted to learn that Alejandro Méndez of Viva Espresso brought the World Barista Championship hardware from Bogotá home to El Salvador this weekend. It may seem provincial, but merely hosting the event in a Latin American city this year for the first time was a big deal for producing countries, where the number of cafés in which great baristas serve exceptional coffees that are locally sourced and craft-roasted is growing steadily, if slowly. For everyone who has experienced the evolution of the local coffee scene in the Americas, having a barista from Central America snag top honors was a fitting and exciting culmination to WBC 2011 that puts Latin America on the map not just for its ability to produce fine coffees, but to prepare them as well.
So congratulations to Alejandro, and to the whole team at Viva Espresso who worked so hard to support him.