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     FrontPage Edition: Wed 21 March 2007

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Inaugural Singapore National Barista Championship 2007

Mr Ross Bright Master Coffee Roaster & Wholesale Manager with the Spinelli Coffee Company


The Search is On For Singapore¡¯s Top Coffee Barista!
The Winner of the Singapore National Barista Championship 2007 Will Represent Singapore in the World Barista Championships in Japan
Singaporeans¡¯ enduring love affair with the coffee bean could never have taken off but for the passion and expertise of a small number of individuals called baristas who are widely regarded as ¡°the sommeliers of the coffee industry¡±.
Now, the Singapore Coffee Association (SCA) has launched its first inaugural Singapore National Barista Championship (SNBC), which will take place from March 29 ¨C 31 at Suntec City Convention Centre Room 208 & 209.
SCA¡¯s Chairman, Mr. Victor Mah said, ¡°Barista refers to one who has acquired some level of expertise in the preparation of espresso-based coffee drinks. The barista is a professional who is highly skilled in coffee preparation, with a comprehensive understanding of coffee, coffee blends, espresso, quality, coffee varieties, roast degree, espresso equipment, maintenance, latte art and everything associated with delivering that perfect cup of coffee.¡±
The contestants, who are all either Singaporeans or Permanent Residents, are drawn from all age groups, races and backgrounds and work for many of Singapore¡¯s best known coffee brands and retailers.
However, the organisers are quick to point out that this is not a competition amongst coffee companies but amongst individuals to determine who has the best coffee-preparation skills.
Aside from a prize purse of SGD1,000, the winner of the Singapore National Barista Championship 2007 will also go on to represent Singapore in the World Barista Championships in Tokyo from July 31 ¨C August 2.
The winners and runners up will also receive a considerable boost to their personal careers thanks to the status awarded to the national barista champion.
Said Ms Teo Sio Hoon, Director of Tourism, Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA): ¡°This competition is an excellent platform to raise the profile of the barista as a professional, as well as promote the idea that being a barista is a viable career option¡±.
All contestants will have to go through a Food & Beverage Workforce Skills Qualifications (F&B WSQ) assessment prior to the competition to evaluate their ability as baristas. Successful contestants will receive a WSQ Statement of Attainment, which is a national certification of their skills.
Ross Bright, Master Coffee Roaster & Wholesale Manager with the Spinelli Coffee Company said the championships would also perk up the food & beverage industry in general by raising awareness that far more goes into the preparation of a good cup of coffee than the installation of an automatic espresso machine.
¡°How often have you ordered a pricey coffee in an expensive restaurant only to find that it¡¯s poorly prepared and occasionally even undrinkable? By throwing a focus on professional coffee preparation in line with international standards we¡¯re making a statement to the Singapore F&B industry that Singaporeans are educated in their palettes and won¡¯t settle for anything less than a coffee product delivered with technical competence and know how,¡± said Mr. Bright, who is part of the organising committee and a certified World Barista Championship judge.
The SNBC has lined up a panel of 7 experienced judges including Head Judge Justin Metcalf, one of Australia¡¯s most recognised coffee and caf¨¦ consultants.
Of those 7 judges, 4 are sensory judges, 2 are technical judges and 1 is the Head Judge).
Each competitor must serve each of the four Sensory Judges a single espresso, a single cappuccino and a single signature beverage of his/her choice (which must be espresso-based and alcohol-free), for a total of 12 drinks, during a period of 15 minutes or less. The four drinks of each category must be identical and served at the same time.
Judges will be scoring the contestants on a combination of criteria including technical proficiency, presentation and creativity, taste, cleanliness and hygiene and overall flair and flamboyance.
Judges will also keep an eye out for those who display the most passion for their vocation! Therefore, competitors may explain their processes aloud during their preparation and speak and interact with the judges and they may also choose their own music soundtrack by which to work.
The Singapore Coffee Association is also working with its official partner, Singapore Exhibition Services (SES), to promote the event. Ting Siew Mui, SES¡¯ Project Director for Lifestyle Events, said there is ¡°much synergy¡± in the partnership, as SES is the organizer of the biennial food and hospitality trade show, Food & Hotel Asia (FHA), in 2008.
¡°As coffee consumption increasingly becomes a lifestyle in Singapore, it is important to give the necessary impetus and support to develop this industry not just as a business, but also as one of the joys in life,¡± Ting said.
The SNBC is sponsored by UCC (Presenter), DaVinci Gourmet, EQUAL and GREENFIELDS (Gold Sponsors) as well as a list of other sponsors.
Further information about the SNBC 2007 is available on the Singapore Coffee Association website:

Source: Media Release 21 Mar 2007

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