Of all the world’s competition events for baristas — which are many and often marginalized — one truly stands out for its inclusion of marginalized people.
In connection with the March 21 World Down Syndrome Day, the third annual Spanish Down Barista Championships will commence in Andalucía, with similar events to follow in Asturias, Galicia and Valencia. Organized by the Spanish coffee company Cafento, in collaboration with several partners of the Spanish Down Syndrome Federation, the events bring together dozens of competitors with Down Syndrome for a day of latte art competition.
The events take place in hotels, with preliminary practice sessions that double as job-training opportunities culminating in group latte art competitions. While the competition element is good for exposure, the event is really about professional skills and opportunities.
“We think Down Barista Championships have two main beneficial effects,” says Tiago Lemos, Cafento’s Marketing Director. “They help to make people with Down Syndrome socially visible, showing them perfectly able to do a good job. And we can train them as baristas, which is a promising profession in terms of job opportunities.”