Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to share a few thoughts about the competitions that have transpired. First, congratulations to all the winners, Aldrin, Jaycee, Joemarie and Yassie, the respective champions for this year’s Philippine Barista Championship, Brewers Cup, Latte Art and Coffee in Good Spirits. Next, thanks to all the judges, competitors, coaches, sponsors, industry professionals, family and friends who showed up to support, for making the event possible.

Here are three observations that were very encouraging to witness:

1. New Blood - in previous years, the gap between competitors were noticeable. 2018 proved to be different with a very talented pool of competitors across all categories. The old guards remain but it was very exciting to see fresh faces do extremely well. It’s very encouraging to see talent develop from outside of Manila, from new coffee shops, chains stores, independents and academic institutions. We need new blood because they are the touch points in which we share more about specialty coffee. It’s through these touch points that customers discover more about our industry through the passion and knowledge of fellow professionals. Thank you to everyone who participated. You push our industry forward.
2. World Class Performances - we all watch the World Barista Championships every year. It’s still a competition where people have good days and bad days but there’s definitely a checklist for a competitor to perform well - excellent fresh crop coffee roasted to perfection, a well-rehearsed routine, a coach and a support system, tip-top verbal and non-verbal skills, just to name a few. Looking at all the performances this year, as a country, we can proudly say that our 2018 winners have the capability and chance to shine at the world stage. Watch out Amsterdam, Brazil and Dubai! We’re coming for ya!
3. No Bright Lights Needed - given the few years of organizing the National AeroPress Championships under our belt, running these competitions is no easy feat. There are many pieces to the puzzle and the stress levels are high. We acknowledge that the work required by the local organizers of the Philippine Coffee Championships are multitudes harder than running the AeroPress comps. Having said that, I commend the international judges and sponsors who pulled a late nighter to rescue that one competition day which we all lost. A fancy stage in a big hall with all the lights and sounds that come with it would be nice. The judges who made magic happened proved that the competitions can be successful with a simple setup. (Okay, maybe the competitors and the audience would benefit from a digital countdown timer and bleachers for the supporters.) Kidding aside, kudos to everyone in the conference rooms of the World Trade Center who hustled and to the competitors who remained patient and focused. A local hospitality university is willing to host next year’s tournament. I’ll make the necessary introductions if help is needed.

After the stress levels subsided last weekend, a few industry peers re-started the conversation of helping each other for the improvement of the local competitions to be fair to the competitors, judges and sponsors who all did their part. I personally do not know the solution but the industry is eager to help.

Here’s our little contribution - we just registered the domain for the Specialty Coffee Guild of the Philippines (www.scgp.coffee). There are many existing coffee organizations in the Philippines but I feel that their scope may be too broad or may not necessarily focus on the core of Specialty Coffee. The Specialty Coffee Guild of the Philippines aims to be a neutral platform, made up of stakeholders from the Specialty Coffee community, to promote Specialty Coffee within the country through professional development, effective platforms and events and the like. The Guild, if ever this really gets off the ground, will happily support the organizer of the Philippine Coffee Championships, in any capacity that both entities see fit. The vision is for the Guild to be sustainable and beneficial for the founding team, its members and other stakeholders. Like the other Specialty Coffee associations globally, I see the Guild as having a rotating board with a fair representation of the industry, voting rights, goals and objectives and a membership structure to give everyone an opportunity to be part of the Guild. Ideally, the members of the Guild will span the entire spectrum of the Specialty Coffee industry. Some describe this as ‘from bean to cup’.
We all have our coffee companies to run therefore I am lost on how to get this started. I hope someone volunteers to start the conversation and get this going. If you have suggestions and feedback, feel free to write me an email at andre[at]yardstickcoffee.com.

Again, congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Philippine Coffee Championships! Let’s support everyone as they represent our country at the world stage!

Cheers,

Andre

March 18, 2018 by Andre Chanco