Picture this: the lush coffee fields of Hacienda Alsacia in Costa Rica, where the rich aroma of coffee hangs in the air and the beans are at their prime. It is here that the 2023 Starbucks LAC Barista Championship will soon unfold, celebrating the art and science of crafting the perfect cup of handcrafted coffee. For its 8th year, the competitive and celebratory event will bring together passionate green apron partners (employees) from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), each bringing with them a deep-seated love for all things coffee.
Over three energy-filled and aromatic days, 21 National Barista Champions from LAC markets will battle it out to seize the prestigious championship title. In the end, only one competitor will emerge victorious and be officially crowned as the LAC Barista Champion. As a preview of what’s to come, we chatted with several of our LAC market champions who will be competing for the regional title to get the lowdown on their secret tips and tricks for brewing that exceptional cup of coffee. So, grab your favorite mug or tumbler and get ready to discover the inside scoop on how to elevate your coffee game!
Coffee Basics and Storage
Let's kick off with the essentials. Iván from Argentina shared a nifty tip to improve coffee quality: forget about the fridge for your coffee—it's a no-go. Keep it simple and store your beans in their original packaging in a cool, dry spot to keep them fresh and flavorful between cups. Meanwhile, Carlos from Bolivia recommended that coffee makers always preheat the paper filter and cup, especially when using V60 or Pour Over brewing methods. Sebastián from Perú noted that he always focuses on the four cardinal rules of coffee-making: grind, freshness, water, and proportions. Get these right, and your coffee set up will always be several notches above the ordinary.
Carlos from Bolivia preheats his paper filter and cup before brewing.
Creative Coffee Adventures
Once you've got the basics down, it's time to take a flavorful leap. From the sunny shores of Aruba, Mistika serves a sweet twist for coffee lovers - Coffee Popsicles, noting that they're easy and oh-so-delightful, especially on warm days. Just blend cream, iced coffee and your choice of syrup or sugar for a cool treat on those warm afternoons.
Meanwhile, over in Puerto Rico, Rubi levels up the flavors in each cup she serves by adding a dash of spice to each cup. Her secret? Mix cinnamon with your ground coffee before brewing, and a hint of vanilla to create a whole new level of sweet and spicy flavors.
Mistika from Aruba enjoys a sweet twist in her coffee.
Exploration and Imagination
Fabiana from Chile is all about exploration in the coffee she brews and serves. "In the coffee world, curiosity is key," she says. "Don't hesitate to explore different beans and roasts until you find your personal favorite."
From the lush setting of Costa Rica, Brayan echoes Fabiana’s sentiment, encouraging coffee enthusiasts to let their imaginations run wild. "Experiment with new flavors, invent your own pairings, and don't be afraid to embrace novelty, even if it occasionally leads to a few taste-testing bumps along the way."
When making coffee, Fabiana from Chile is always driven by curiosity.
A Soulful Moment
For a more profound and meaningful coffee experience, Brazilian barista Juliana gave us a heartfelt piece of advice. She suggested that coffee lovers trying to find their perfect blend take a journey through the world of coffee by attending a Starbucks tasting. "It's not just about falling in love with the beverage, but also about forging connections with the stories and the people behind the coffee," she shared.
Juliana from Brazil encourages partners to take a journey through the world of coffee.
These insights from the Starbucks LAC Barista Championship national winners provide a diverse palette of ideas to elevate your coffee brewing and sipping experience. Whether you're refining the basics, exploring new creative dimensions, embarking on a coffee journey, or simply forging a deeper connection with your beverage, these tips are here to enhance your coffee ritual and make every cup one to celebrate.