I must admit that I have had a hard time getting into barista competitions. Living and working in the coffeelands where so many smallholder farmers work so hard in total obscurity to grow the great coffee that fuels — quite literally — the hyper-caffeinated gatherings of the SCAA and the Barista Guild makes it hard for me to accept the swagger of baristas who produce beverages that seem only very remotely to qualify as “coffee.” So you can imagine my delight when Sustainable Harvest had the inspired idea to bring champion baristas to origin during the 2009 edition of Let’s Talk Coffee to live a few days in the life of a coffee farmer.
The Seed-to-Cup Barista Challenge was hosted by Mausi Kuhl, who owns the Selva Negra farm in Matagalpa with her husband Eddie. The coffeelands — and Mausi — challenged and humbled the baristas in all the very best ways. To their credit, the baristas were wonderful — humble and very open to everything the experience entailed — and will likely be better ambassadors for the coffeelands into the future. Fortunately, you didn’t have to be part of the Seed-to-Cup Barista Challenge to get an idea of what it was all about. Sustainable Harvest brought a talented documentary filmmaker to catpure the experience. Watch his brilliant video here.