Barista Camp EU
Last week, I had the privilege of being a part of the volunteer crew that helped to organise the first ever European Barista Camp, held at a beautiful beachside location near Athens, Greece. Taking inspiration from the already popular Camps run annually in the United States, Barista Camp EU is a way for European barista's and coffee professionals to come together to learn, progress and become part of a larger coffee loving community.
During the 3 days, over 150 barista's took part in educational workshops designed to improve their sensory, brewing or espresso based skills. The modules were based on the SCAE Coffee Diploma, which meant that at the end of camp the attendee's could leave with a recognised certification of their skills. The modules were taught by highly qualified trainers from across the globe, and were definitely an intense learning experience!
Between classes, experienced industry professionals gave lectures on all aspects of the coffee industry, from farming to roasting. Author Scott Rao, coffee farmer Graciano Cruz and Square Mile CEO James Hoffman were amongst the speakers, and their talks were informative and really well received.
Of course, it wasn't all hard work; from team challenges to beer 'cuppings', blind latte art competitions to wild beach parties, there was definitely plenty of fun to be had when class was over!
As a volunteer crew member, I was helped to organise and run the classes and social events. Although I learned a lot about tasting coffee, what I gained the most from Barista Camp was the sense of community. It's rare to have so many people in one place who are passionate about the same thing, and I now have a great network of coffee loving friends across Europe. I was definitely sad to leave - bring on next year!