Kenyan ranked among world’s top coffee makers


Martin Shabaya, the Kenya National Barista Champion, whips up a cup of coffee. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A Kenyan has become the first African in the history of the World Barista Championships to qualify for the semi-finals of the competition.

Martin Shabaya, who was the winner of Kenya National Barista Championship 2017 edition, reached the semi-finals of the World Barista Championship (WBC) held in Seoul South Korea last month, making Kenya the first country on the continent to have reached that level.

Agriculture and Food Authority director general Alfred Busolo says this means Kenya has some of the best coffee makers who are now ranking with the likes of the US where coffee culture is more developed.

“This implies we are among the best in the world on value addition and it comes as a boost to our coffee industry,” said Mr Busolo.

WBC is a premier barista competition with the winners of each national barista championship competing for the world title.

Competitors prepare and serve 12 coffee beverages in 15 minutes - four espresso, four cappuccino, and four signature drinks to be tested by four sensory judges.

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Points are awarded for the taste of each individual drink and consideration is given to raw materials used and style of the beverage.

Competitors should strive for a harmonious balance of sweetness, acidity and bitterness. Contestants are advised to explain verbally to the judges why they chose their particular coffee, the basic roast profile, the espresso constituent structure and the major taste elements.

The barista competition format was created in Norway and the WBC was dominated in its early years by Scandinavian baristas.

The competition is owned and organised jointly by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE).

The championship this year attracted 58 competitors from around the globe. Cafe Show Seoul hosted the 2017 contest at the Coex Exhibition Centre in Gangnam.