The Coffee Board of India in association with SCAI and the United Coffee Association of India returned to Bangalore with the 20th edition of The National Barista Championship (NBC). The week-long competitive event held at the acclaimed Orion Mall witnessed the best of the country’s baristas battle it out for the title of the National Champion, who would then proceed to represent the nation in the World Barista Championship to be held in Melbourne in September.
With the demand for variety in beverages increasing rapidly, brands in this industry are keenly looking to create distinctive flavors and explore new recipes. Events like the NBC help facilitate the generation of unique ideas by contemporary individuals by encouraging creativity in the coffee-making process. The event acquired 59 registrations by driven baristas representing top brands such as Third Wave, Starbucks, and Blue Tokai as well as independent specialty coffee chains, all battling it out over multiple rounds to deliver exotic coffee recipes along with exceptional presentations, while the public cheered them on. The preliminary round was conducted over three days and the jury selected 16 semifinalists. The finale had the top six contestants participate in the championship.
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“NBC is inspired by our aspirations for Indian coffee to be recognized and respected on a global scale, and we aim to get it on the map. It is exhilarating to see the numerous registrations we received and the public who come to witness the competition and be invested in it throughout, this really proves that the coffee community, previously a niche segment, is now expanding across the country,” said DM Purnesh, the President of NBC and SCAI.
Originated in the year 2001, the prestigious event has previously held 19 editions and is known to have kickstarted the journeys of renowned baristas and entrepreneurs in the coffee fraternity, who have established themselves in the industry and made their name on a global scale. The 20th edition set out to be bigger and better than ever before, experiencing a footfall of over 10,000 spectators, among which were renowned journalists, food bloggers, and influencers from the F&B space.
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After conducting multiple challenging rounds and considering various aspects of the coffee creation process, the event’s Head Judge; World Coffee Events representative Seonhee Yoon of South Korea along with the jury declared the ultimate champion; Mithilesh Vazalwar, who is a certified Q-Grader, roaster, brewer, and Founder of Corridor Seven Coffee Roasters.
“With NBC being the most acclaimed platform that showcases healthy competition in the surging coffee industry and providing equal opportunity to gender in a space that has previously been male dominant, the event also encourages professionals in this field to present their personal experiences with domestic coffee in all its aspects, and aims to support specialty coffee in the country to eventually give it the recognition it deserves around the world,” said Sunalini Menon, one of the Head Judges of NBC and Asia’s first woman professional in the field of coffee cupping.
The event also featured more than 25 coffee brands from all over the country including Lavazza, Slay Coffee, KAAPI Solutions, and so on, that set up a line of one-of-a-kind coffee pop-up stalls, displaying their products and serving a variety of coffee beverages, all open for the public to experience.
Overall, NBC concluded on a grand and successful note and is expected to return at an even higher scale next year.