As I write this, we are in the third and final day of the heats of MBA (Mixed Barista Arts), next week will be the semi finals and finals. I thought it might be a good idea to write a series of blogs explaining what MBA is and why we created it.
MBA (Mixed Barista Arts) is a brand new style of barista competition. The initial vision, intellectual property and conceptual ideas come from myself.
The fleshing out of the competition over many meetings and hours, asking what will work and what won’t work, the scoring system and the final Rules and Regulations, and creating what is now the MBA. Has been a collaboration between Hofex (UBM HKES) event management staff, Karina Yu, Derek Lau and Arosia Tong. And some Hong Kong Coffee industry professionals, Ivy Iky, Felix Wong, Janice So, Lena Tsang and Dennis Cheung.
The Rules and Regulation can be found here http://hofex.com/public/MBA_Rules_Regulations.pdf
The Score sheets can be found here http://hofex.com/public/MBA_Score_Sheets.pdf
MBA is a series of barista battles; one on one latte art smackdown. A grinder challenge, 3 at the same time racing to assemble a grinder pull a shot and be the fastest to do so. Single origin skill and knowledge test (like a school exam) and a team work challenge. One comparison might be the Iron Chef of the barista world.
Am I the best person to create a new style of barista competition? I do not claim to be so, but I do love barista competitions and I have been involvd in barista competitions for many years, I competed in barista competitions from 2002 – 2010, during that time I won the World Latte Art Championship, won the Australian Barista Championship twice and came 3rd in The World Barista Championship. Since then I have judged in the World Latte Art Championship, the Australian Barista Championship and I have trained numerous baristas to compete.
Although, that is just me and this competition would certainly not be half the competition it has become without the diverse expertise, commitment and hard work group of the people mentioned above.
Together we are the MBA committee and together we created the MBA
The vision of MBA
“Challenge baristas, entertain the crowd”
Some key aspects/strengths of MBA
- Low to zero cost, the only cost to competitors is the entry fee
- Baristas do not have to speak to the judges, this is a barista competition not a public speaking competition
- It engages anyone in the audience, you do not need to know a thing about coffee to understand what is going on
- It challenges a wide range of real life barista skills
MBA is four different barista battle style challenges
- Mixed Barista Arts (MBA) Skill not Swagger
- Mixed Barista Arts (MBA) Bump and Grind
- Mixed Barista Arts (MBA) Latte Art Smackdown
- Mixed Barista Arts (MBA) Team Work = Dream Work
Over the four challenges baristas earn points, the points accumulate and are shown live as the competition and narrative evolves.
Skill Not Swagger
Many baristas like to have swagger (look good/cool, coffee tats etc) we love this about baristas but do you also have the skill? 4 separate single origin beans labeled 1 – 4, can you tell us the origin, variety, processing method etc? plus some general knowledge questions.
Bump and Grind
Assemble a grinder pull a shot within given parameters. 20 grams +/- 0.5, 30 seconds extraction +/- 5, 20 – 24 gram espresso, safe sensory balance. It is a race with a maximum 15-minute time limit.
Latte Art Smackdown
Nothing too new here, 2 baristas, 3 minutes, 1 latte art pattern each, 3 judges are given 30 seconds to assess and then after a 1.2.3 count down the judges must simultaneously point at the pattern they think is the best. No knock out, how many fingers pointed at your pour = how many points you receive.
Team Work = Dream Work
Two teams of 3. two parts to the challenge. Part 1. 5 minutes, it is a race to make the most lattes, each competitor in the team that makes the most lattes wins points. Part 2. 5 VIP judges or members of the audience order their coffee of choice from both teams and choose their favourite team.
We hope the MBA is entertaining for the audience and people following online. We hope the barista competitors have fun. We hope they find the challenges hard but rewarding and we hope they learn from the experience.
Over the next few days I will post more blogs explaining the finer details of the four MBA challenges. And I hope you follow along over the next few days as we take the points live. And follow along next week as the narrative of the first ever MBA evolves.