Travis Scott, the current South African Barista Champion, shares some of the highlights from his fun and insightful trip to the WBC held in Colombia.
So Travis Tell us all about your trip?
It was fantastic that the WBC was held in Columbia, a beautiful coffee producing country. We were met at the airport by our Barrister Buddy (Nicholas) who was studying to be a chef, and was assigned to us because he could speak English which was great because no one in Bogotá could speak English. The first few days we were left to acclimatise due to the 7 hour time difference and the 21 hour flight. Once we had got over the Jetlag we were invited for a coffee origin trip, which took us on a flight to Armenia and Pereiva.
So when you finally did shake-off of the 7 hour time difference did you get to visit any places?
We went to the El Grado Coffee Farm where we learnt all about the production of Columbian coffee from planting, picking, washing, drying – all the processes down to the compost. From there we left to a small coffee farm near the town square where we met a lovely old lady and her husband who had a small beautiful coffee farm where we got to plant our own coffee trees which was fantastic. The lady explained how they were a part of an organization that helped them to produce great consistent coffee. She then told us that lots of the municipalities were coffee municipalities, this just shows you how much Columbia is doing for world coffee. From there we jumped into short wheel based jeeps which took us up a steep mountain to Finca San Alberto which is a specialty coffee shop with an amazing view like no other in the world. We drank good coffee, and then headed back.
The next day we visited the Columbian Natural Research Centre where we learnt it’s not all about the coffee, it’s about the environment in which the coffee is grown and the nature that surrounds it. At this research centre they cross pollinate coffee flowers to produce more berries per year instead of destroying more natural environment to plant more coffee trees. This cross pollination also helps to prevent coffee rust and other diseases. That night we were heading to dinner and a show at the Columbian Coffee Park (the only one in the world) where we had a traditional sing and dance show on the history of Columbian coffee.
How about the competition?
On the 1st day we had the competitors meet and greet where we got to see and experience the venue which was incredible (nerves started kicking in).
Day 2 (competition day) was a very exciting day; the competition was of the highest standards. My competition time was fantastic, had loads of fun. The camaraderie amongst Baristas was amazing. Skills and experience were exchanged throughout the whole competition which was great.
On the 3rd, 4th and 5th days we had the privilege of watching the rest of the world, semi finals and finals which on its own was an amazing experience.
The last day was the traditional Barista Party which was 1 ½ hours out of town where we came to this amazing and unforgettable restaurant, my words cannot explain this place, Lani Snyman, George Bertolis, Bernard Muneri and I were flabbergasted by its uniqueness. George and I sucked back some Mohitos; the rest of the night seemed to be a bit of a blur!
Wow, Travis… sounds like the trip was very memorable?
My experience in Columbia is one I shall never forget, the technical and world stage experience I have gained is one of a life time. I wish to share my new found knowledge and experiences with everyone.
South African Barista Champion
About this Blog
“Champions of Africa” is a series dedicated profiling & celebrating the activities of the top baristas in the EAFCA Region.