|Pretty Señorita Coffee|
|The arena where the baristas battle.|
The event is sponsored by the National Federation of Coffee Growers. Admission is around 8,000 pesos, but we got in free as international representatives of Cafe de la Fonda.
But the highlight was the coffee preparation competition. This was a world championship, and really serious business. Baristas, or coffee machine pros, had come from all over the Americas, and perhaps from beyond, to prepare their best cappuccinos, espressos and creative coffee drinks. Making a cup of coffee might sound pretty easy. But try it with a timer ticking away the seconds, a dozen very intense judges looking over your shoulder and a hundred coffee fanatics watching from the stands.
And these guys really are athletes. He's on his mark, he's set, he's off! See him twist, see him turn, see him pour milk and squirt coffee! The crowd cheers.
***And the winner is: Alejandro Mendez, of El Salvador. Colombian representative Lina Zea made it into the semifinals.
|A barista from Guatemala works while the judges take notes.|
Each competitor had 15 minutes to prepare five capuccinos, five espressos and five 'creative' coffees. Here's an article about a Colombian competitor - a woman, in what appears to be a male-dominated profession.
There's even an annual World Barista Championship.
|Coffee competition fans, from El Salvador and Guatemala, cheer on their champions.|
|Judges at work: Who ever imagined there was so much to write about a cup of coffee?|
|The moment of truth: the taste.|
|Elsewhere in the exhibition: Green coffee beans on display.|
|Luza Quiceno Quiroga makes paintings with coffee.|