Issue No. 42

Colombia has new national barista, cup taster and brewer champions

November, 2017

Product and Innovation

Colombia has new national barista, cup taster and brewer champions

Ronal Valero, from Juan Valdez Café, won the XII Colombian Barista Championship; Walter Acevedo, from Amor Perfecto, won the VII National Cup Tasters Championship, and Sebastián Villamizar, from La Palma y El Tucán, won the II National Brewers Cup.


Colombia has three new national champions: barista, cup taster and brewer.

Cafés de Colombia Expo 2017 (formerly ExpoEspeciales), which took place in Corferias from October 18 to 21, hosted the XII Colombian Barista Championship, VII National Cup Tasters Championship, and II National Brewers Cup.

After three days of tight competition, the finals were held before enthusiastic audiences.

Ronal Valero, from Juan Valdez, is the new barista champion

Ronal Valero, from Juan Valdez Café, won the Colombian Barista Championship, in which he had to prepare four espressos, four drinks with milk and four design drinks in no more than 15 minutes.

“I’m very proud of this accomplishment. I’m also proud of Mr. Humberto and Mr. Milton Monroy, owners of the coffee I used in this competition. I’ve been working with them for two years now. I gave the best of me, and I will give the best of me in the Netherlands,” Valero said.

The competition seeks to develop the barista’s creativity and skills in creating attractive and unique drinks. For the design drink, the 30-year-old barista encapsulated the aromas of roasted coffee in a cold infusion with nitrogen and raw cane sugar.

Valero will represent Colombia in the World Barista Championship that will take in place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2018. This championship is organized annually by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) and endorsed by World Coffee Events.

Walter Acevedo, from Amor Perfecto, new cup taster champion

With seven hits in 2 minutes 23 seconds, Walter Acevedo, from Amor Perfecto, won the National Cup Tasters Championship, in which participants had to taste eight groups of three cups (triangulation) and identify the different cup, in order to obtain the highest number of hits in the shortest possible time.

Second place went to Ana María Trujillo, who represented Coffeenet, from Armenia, Quindío. She was the only woman among the four finalists. Third place went to Luis Carlos Gutiérrez.

The National Cup Tasters Championship recognizes the effort of Colombian cup tasters and rewards the knowledge and skills of those who, with the sense of taste and smell, are able to discover the richness and diversity of the flavors and aromas coffee can offer.

The competition also seeks to stimulate the interest of new generations for coffee tasting, which requires acute gustatory and olfactory senses. 

Sebastián Villamizar, from La Palma y El Tucán, new brewer champion

Sebastián Villamizar, from La Palma y El Tucán, won the II National Brewers Cup, a contest that promotes coffee brewing through manual methods. This specialty requires baristas to have an extensive knowledge on the raw material to be able to extract its best attributes.

“I believe that the specialty coffee industry is the key for attracting young people to rural areas. That’s very important. It’s what motivated me to participate,” Villamizar said at the end of the awarding ceremony.

Competitors had to prepare and serve three individual drinks. There were two services in the first stage: an open service and a closed one. For the latter, baristas competed with a coffee provided by the organization. In the second stage, baristas had 5 minutes for brewing and 10 minutes for presentation. This final stage was customer service driven.

Besides stimulating and recognizing the effort of Colombia’s coffee professionals, these competitions contribute to bringing national and international visibility to the great diversity of Colombian coffees and their producers. They also stimulate knowledge and coffee consumption sophistication before an increasingly demanding coffee audience.

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