It has been a long time since coffee competition were halted dead in their tracks by COVID-19. The last SCASA coffee event in SA was the SA Nationals in March 2020, over sixteen months ago, where Winston Thomas won the National Barista Champs, Wency Masawi won the Cup Tasters Champs and Jeff Stopforth won the National Latte Art Champs. None of these SA Champs have been able to represent our country on the Global stage since winning their titles, as the World Coffee Events program has seen cancellation after cancellation. This week, finally, WCE and SCA announced that at least WBC and WCTC would be run, at HOST, in Milan this October. Good news potentially for Winston and Wency, however, World Latte Art, World Coffee in Good Spirits, and World Coffee Roasting Championship have not been confirmed, leaving Jeff in limbo until a further announcement is made.
"The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) has announced the 2021 Milan World Coffee Championships, featuring the World Barista Championship, World Brewers Cup, and World Cup Tasters Championship, will take place at HostMilano, Italy, from October 22-26" read the official press release.
Boston WBC, April 2019 - the last World Barista Champs before the Pandemic struck. ©CoffeeMagazine
HostMilano is an exhibition dedicated to the catering and hospitality sector, with many key Italian and international organizations exhibiting at Fiera Milano every two years.
“We are extremely pleased to announce that HostMilano will feature the 2021 World Barista Championship, World Brewers Cup, and World Cup Tasters Championship this October,” said Yannis Apostolopoulos, SCA Chief Executive Officer. “We’ve always found massive value in attending Host, and following the hardship and disruption of the past year, we’re excited to return and bring our community to this wonderful show.”
Due to the unfortunate recent spike in COVID-19 cases and corresponding regulations in Taiwan, the SCA and the Taiwan Coffee Association (TCA) have made the difficult decision to postpone the World Latte Art, World Coffee in Good Spirits, and World Coffee Roasting Championship events scheduled to take place in Taipei in November 2021. The SCA and TCA are working to identify opportunities to host World Coffee Championships in Taipei at a future date.
Should Winston and Wency decide to compete in October there will be a number of hurdles. Will they be able to get vaccinated in time? Will SCASA have the funding to send them? Will they have enough preparation time and a team to be able to give them the chance to compete and perform at the highest level? Whatever the outcome, we are going to need to rally as a coffee community behind them if they are to get their shot at a WCE title in October.
Winston Thomas - SA Barista Champ 2020
Wency Masawi - SA Cup Tasters Champ 2020 (with Maryke Schoonwinkel - Bruder Coffee)
/>Jeff Stopforth - SA Latte Art Champ 2020.