My friend André Eiermann collected the data of the last WBC finalists and tried to point out the trends for barista competitions. Based on his extended observations about coffee and milk used during the last 4 WBC, Colombia emerged as the favoured origin country in the 2024 World Barista Championship. Panama geishas seem to still be there, but less dominating than before. The 2024 finals showcased a prevalence of advanced processing methods, with all finalists presenting coffees that had undergone sophisticated post-harvesting techniques such as anaerobic, infused/co-fermented and/or mosto.

Milk beverages were also concerned with new advanced processing techniques. In 2023, all finalists used milk with reduced water contents. In 2024, only one finalist used rice milk.

2024 WBC official rules and regulations : “For the purposes of this competition, no additives of any kind may be added to coffee after it reaches the « green coffee » stage, i.e., seeds of the Coffea genus, dried as a part of the post harvest process, and free from all pericarp layers. This includes exposure to aromatic substances, flavourings, perfumes, liquids, powders, etc ».

By consequence, WBC rules and regulations authorizes the use of any additional ingredients before drying green coffee, farmers in agreement with baristas started to add not only yeast and bacteria, but also fruits and aromatic herbs. Why adding external ingredients before drying process?

Well, the easiest answer concerns the use of WBC Sensory score sheet used by the WBC judges. Sensory/Taste and tactile accuracy have heavy weight on the final score, so more accurate baristas are on sensory descriptors, higher scores they will obtain.

Today, it looks that Colombia becomes the origin where most of the experimental coffees are produced. They understood the needs of barista champions to reach high scores with accurate descriptors and therefore, they have started to make experiments adding ingredients, most of them from natural sources (yeast, bacteria, fruits, herbs), but how to be sure they are not using flavourings from the industry ?