Last week saw the 2018 Festival Kafe Timor event take place here in Dili. The event is in its third year and has seen interest and participation in the different activities increase in popularity. This was great to see as it shows signs that more and more young Timorese are becoming more involved in coffee, and are passionate about promoting coffee to be the Timor-Leste’s number 1 biggest commodity.
The 2018 Timor-Leste National Barista Competition was held throughout the festival with the final taking centre stage at the closing ceremony. With a total of 13 entrants from different local cafes in Dili, there was a lot of enthusiasm and support for the entrants from the crowd.
Being a barista was a fairly unknown profession in Timor-Leste until around 4 years ago where there has been a slow increase in the number of Timorese becoming pioneers of this profession. With strong participants from Agora Food Studio (the place to go for great tasting food made from locally sourced ingredients), Letefoho Cafe (a Japanese NGO supported cafe serving their own range of local Timorese coffees) and ETDA (the amazing training institute offering young Timorese people opportunities to learn great skills.) This meant that the competition level was exceedingly high.
Modelled on the barista competitions organized by World Coffee Events, the baristas were firstly required to produce two espressos and two milk based coffee drinks to exacting standards in order to progress further. Nerves built up more and more as all the entrants progressed through the competition.
Julia, Eko and Cesaltina from Agora Food Studio, Mario and Fatima from Letefoho Cafe and Domingos from ETDA were all named as the finalists.
As the pressure mounted with the final round of the competition, the support was immense as the baristas were expected to produce 2 x espressos, 2 x milk based drinks and 2 x signature coffees of their own creation. Coconut milk, ginger syrup, passionfruit, mango and even coffee leaf powder were featured within this great array of signature coffee drinks.
A big congratulations to Julia (front row, 3rd from right), who is in fact the reigning champion barista from last year, who was crowned Timor-Leste National Barista Champion 2018!!!! A truly inspiring young barista who has a great passion for her craft and a genuine love for coffee.