After taking the competition platform on the road throughout Europe and the United Sates over the past two years, the inclusive barista competition platform The Barista League had been planning to scale up even further this year.
While the remainder of The Barista League’s 2020 events were fortuitously scheduled for the very tail end of the year in Toronto, Denver and Seoul, other industry event cancellations due to COVID-19, along with a general desire to keep coffee people connected through difficult times, caused the organizers to launch the first ever The Barista League: Online.
“The initial inspiration for The Barista League: Online came from hearing the news that so many of the large industry trade shows were being postponed and cancelled due to COVID-19,” The Barista League Communications Director Angela Ferrara recently told DCN. “Because of this, we were seeing more and more of our community becoming bored, isolated, and depressed — unable to do what they love. We wanted to create a concept that would give all of those amazing folks something fun to do while they’re social distancing and keep everyone (remotely) connected over the next few months.”
In short, baristas from all over the world are being asked to submit a 3- to 5-minute video making any drink they can imagine. The Barista League selection committee will choose eight people for the competition, which will follow the normal Barista League three-round, head-to-head form.
Like all The Barista League winners, the top scorer in the 2020 online competition will win a spot for the grand prize “mystery coffee vacation.”
Of course, being all online, there are some organizational twists in the gameplay, as well as some new opportunities to share the competition with a wider audience, according to Ferrara.
“Unlike our usual format, The Barista League: Online will be a single player game; no teams for this concept, as we felt it was important to allow those who are quarantined alone to safely participate,” Ferrara said. “The competitors will be required to record themselves completing each round of the competition and will need to submit those videos to us. Once we’ve received all competitor recordings, each round will be released as a video and shared with the public so they can see how the competition is going and how each competitor is getting creative to complete the challenges — sort of like coffee competition meets reality TV show vibes.”
The group is working with independent coffee consultant Erika Vonie, who will be emceeing each video through editing with videographer Carolyn West. Ferrara said the goal is to have weekly releases of tightly produced videos, while the group is also encouraging more coffee videos from people all over the world.
“Throughout the application submission period, we’re encouraging everyone we know to upload their own coffee videos, even if they aren’t planning to apply for a spot in the competition,” Ferrara said. “By doing this, we hope to engage a larger part of the community and create a connection from afar while giving people something stress-free to do for a few hours.”
Check out this document for more info, including prize details and application requirements. Video submissions are due by Monday, April 20.