Brewing Excellence: Meet the Green Apron Partners Participating in the 2023 Starbucks LAC Barista Championship

It is that time of the year again; the much-anticipated Starbucks LAC Barista Championship has returned for another year of competition and celebration! With the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the clinking of cups, this annual event is a celebration of craftsmanship, passion and coffee knowledge.

This year, from November 13 to 16, the Championship will return to the LAC region, providing green apron partners (employees) with a stage to showcase their coffee passion and skill. Over the course of four exciting days, National Barista Champions from 21 distinctive LAC markets will compete in Costa Rica and at Hacienda Alsacia, Starbucks first and only coffee farm, for the coveted title of LAC Barista Champion.

The objectives of this championship go beyond the thrill of competition: the competition serves as a platform to shine a spotlight on Starbucks coffee craft expertise. Through the experience, Starbucks aims to elevate partner pride by showcasing the talented participants and demonstrating how they are the backbone of Starbucks coffee leadership and mission.

Hacienda Alsacia, located on the slopes of the Poás volcano in Costa Rica, is not only a symbol of Starbucks commitment to sustainable coffee cultivation; it also serves as a global Research and Development center. It is here that Starbucks continues to innovate and create a future for coffee that benefits everyone.

The LAC Barista Championship is an embodiment of Starbucks commitment to delivering the finest coffee experience to customers. Champion baristas and competitors bring their craft and creativity to stores across the region, ensuring that every cup of Starbucks coffee is a work of art.

Join us in this celebration of excellence, sustainability, and the journey of coffee from farm to cup, along with getting to know this year’s contestants!

Iván, Argentina

Partner since 2021

“I began my career as a barista with no prior experience in coffee. Today, coffee is one of my greatest motivations for personal growth and has become an invaluable tool to solve everyday challenges and forge genuine and valuable connections with people.

What I find most exciting about the Championship is the opportunity to challenge myself and learn even more. I’m very proud to be able to represent my country and share with other like-minded partners.”

Mistika, Aruba

Partner since 2011

“For me, coffee symbolizes connection. It evokes memories of my hometown, where neighbors gathered every afternoon to enjoy a warm cup of coffee.

Being a barista means having the power to make someone's day extraordinary and to have a meaningful impact on our customers' daily lives.

This is why the Barista Championship is so important: it allows us to reconnect with the Starbucks spirit and share the Starbucks culture with partners and customers. It fosters a sense of belonging and continuous inspiration. Additionally, it's an honor to represent the market.’’

Shanquell, Bahamas

Partner since 2019

“I’m so proud to be able to represent my country in the Championship. We’re a small nation, but everyone knows good things come out of here, even if it’s a small place.

I’ve applied myself to doing my very best and it would be an honor to represent Starbucks Bahamas if I win the Finals in Costa Rica!”

Ethan, Barbados

Partner since 2021

“Coffee represents the heritage passed down from generations that brings us together as a people.

I love being able to share this with our customers; crafting personalized beverages for them is a joy and seeing the lasting impact of a simple recommendation is extraordinary.

The Championship is a way to foster connections, friendships, and shared experiences. It's not just a competition, it's an enriching journey. Representing my country globally, meeting other partners and showcasing my skills has been a rewarding experience. Preparation involves mastering brewing methods and unleashing creativity, but above all, it has taught me to believe in myself.”

Carlos, Bolivia

Partner since 2021

 “I had already worked as a barista before coming to Starbucks, but when I started at Starbucks, I really got to learn about the whole bean to cup journey and the coffee growers behind the scenes.

 I also enjoy being able to share my knowledge and tips with customers every day.

 I’m very excited to meet and connect with partners from other countries while sharing experiences. Even though I’ll be away from home, I’ll be surrounded by people with the same passion.”

Juliana, Brazil

Partner since 2022

“The most appealing aspect of being a barista is being the person who conveys the story and care behind each cup of coffee we prepare for our customers and partners and honoring it by making it the best it can be.

The Barista Championship is a fantastic way to become immersed in coffee culture while encouraging excellence and fostering connections between different regions. The competition's focus on creating connections and challenge oneself has been an exhilarating experience.

My motivation stems from the thrill of competition, which reminds me of my earlier sports days, along with the opportunity to inspire and challenge my fellow partners to exceed their limits.”

Anna-Lisa, Cayman Islands

Partner since 2021

 “When I started working at Starbucks, I never would have thought I’d become a local barista champion!

 It’s been an incredible journey and I’m very happy to share my coffee passion with the people I love, such as my mom who didn’t drink coffee, but who has become a true aficionado since I began showing her what I’ve learned.

 What excites me most about participating in the Championship is being able to learn more about coffee while having fun doing it.”

Fabiana, Chile

Partner since 2021

“I have always been drawn to coffee culture, and working at Starbucks has allowed me to delve deeper into it.

For me, the Championship is an excellent opportunity for partners to share our knowledge and skills and to foster coffee culture between each other.

This is my second time competing and I’m very excited to go to Hacienda Alsacia this round!”

Luis Augusto, Colombia

Partner since 2023

 “When Starbucks first opened in my city, I was intrigued by the concept. I was pleasantly surprised by the service and how I immediately felt like a regular. After that, I decided to apply to become a partner myself.

 This is why coffee will always remind me of the importance of seizing an opportunity. Choosing to become a partner has led me to achieve the things I'm proud of today.

 So far, the Championship has been an incredibly enriching experience. It’s allowed me to create meaningful connections through storytelling and meet partners with deep coffee expertise, contributing significantly to my growth.”

Brayan, Costa Rica

Partner since 2020

“Coffee represents a realm of flavor possibilities and tastes to discover and explore. It all depends on the preparation.

This is why I love opportunities like the Championship. It’s my third time competing, and each year I’ve learned and become better at my craft.

This time around, I’m excited to meet partners from the region and learn alongside them. I’m also looking forward to the thrill of the competition!”

Rozalia, Curacao

Partner since 2021

 “I find that coffee is a way of connecting with people. One time, a Brazilian family came to the store and we hit it off right away. They even started to sing me a song in Portuguese about my name. I did not understand anything, but I will never forget the connection we experienced!

 The Championship is another chance to connect, this time with fellow partners from around the region. It is also a platform to bring knowledge and experience to your store back home.”

Miguel, Dominican Republic

Partner since 2020

 “Coffee symbolizes new beginnings. Each cup in my life represents an opportunity to share experiences, dreams and goals with those around me.

 The Barista Championship provides a unique opportunity to enhance my skills. It represents Starbucks commitment to continuous growth. I'm excited to learn from other partners and to represent my beloved island.

My local championship experience was fantastic, and it was an honor to represent the first store in the Dominican Republic. It was truly inspiring. The competition felt like a supportive community, emphasizing that we were all winners by representing our stores."

Mónica, El Salvador

Partner since 2022

 “From the moment we take our first sip as partners, we realize the impact coffee has on us. I always cherish memories of daily tastings and the fun moments from when I was a new partner at Starbucks.

 The Championship opens the doors to knowledge, making valuable information accessible for skill development and personal growth.

 What truly motivates me is the chance to share the expertise I've gained over time and connect with fellow coffee enthusiasts.”

Andrea ("Sevilla"), Guatemala

Partner since 2022

“Coffee has been in my life since childhood. It has been an enchanting journey to learn more about coffee, from learning to use a Mastrena to being able to positively impact customers’ days by simply sharing a special moment.

The Championship motivates me to improve myself, and it has been amazing to be able to meet and learn from other partners from my country and now from other parts of the region.”

Rolanda, Jamaica

Partner since 2021

“Coffee, to me, symbolizes diversity: connecting people from different cultures and generations, and transforming everyday experiences. It also played a major role during my university years, powering countless study sessions and enhancing meaningful conversations with friends.

Now, it is a way to connect with customers and partners each day. This is what the Championship is also about: sharing with others and being engaged in Starbucks commitment with coffee as a whole.

I’m very happy to be able to do what I enjoy most and to express myself through coffee.”

Arturo, Mexico

Partner since 2017

“When I started at Starbucks, I was met with true coffee passion that inspired me to love it as well.

Since then, coffee has given me many great experiences that have challenged me and helped me grow.

I can’t wait to meet other partners and learn new ways to prepare coffee and put my knowledge to the test against the best in the region.”

David, Panama

Partner since 2023

“While I grew up loving coffee, my time at Starbucks has taught me more about it and has made me curious to learn even more.

I really love the social aspect of coffee and how as partners, we are not only in charge of preparing beverages, but also of connecting with others.

To me, the Championship represents a chance to keep connecting with new people and to go beyond theory by experiencing coffee at its fullest by finding out how other cultures are passionate about it.” 

Sebastián, Peru

Partner since 2022

“What I enjoy most about being a barista is the passion behind it. There’s also a very special connection to be made with every coffee shared with the customers.

What moves me most about the Championship is that I can showcase the art of coffee-making and narrate my journey through it.

Personally, it has been all about mastering my coffee skills, increasing my deep coffee knowledge, and confidently performing in front of an audience. None of this would be achievable without the unwavering support of my family and dedicated partners who have stood by my side."

Rubí, Puerto Rico

Partner since 2017

“I’d always wanted to be a barista because I deeply love coffee, so when the opportunity to become a partner presented itself, I took it.

What I love most is sharing what I know with others and hearing people tell me they really enjoyed the coffee I made for them.

I’m very proud to represent Puerto Rico’s coffee culture in the Championship. I love being able to show my expertise and being able to perfect it.”

Vicenzo, Trinidad & Tobago

Partner since 2021

“I’m an extrovert, so being a barista is the perfect fit for my personality! The best part of my job definitely has to be the opportunity to interact with customers and make them a little happier than when they first came into the store.

To me, the Championship represents recognition for the hard work we put into perfecting our craft, embracing the intricate processes, techniques, and dedication involved. It provides valuable experiences to enrich and grow the Starbucks Experience in our respective markets.”

Mayra, Uruguay

Partner since 2018

“When I first started my career as a barista, I didn’t know anything at all. Today, coffee is a very important part of my life and a true passion.

The Championship is an opportunity to challenge ourselves and showcase how much we love and know about coffee. It’s amazing to look back and realize how far I’ve come.

I’m very thankful to the partners I’ve met along the way who have taught me so much. It is thanks to them that I am where I am today.”

thumbnail for Photos: Laxman Narasimhan’s immersive training – from Starbucks barista to ceo

Photos: Laxman Narasimhan’s immersive training – from Starbucks barista to ceo