Although it has been over a month now since Singapore held their 2015 Nation Barista Championships, it is never too late to celebrate the success of all the competitors and raise a glass (really a coffee cup) to the growing specialty coffee industry in Singapore.
Back in January, under the towering formation of the Marina Bay Sands, 16 dedicated Baristas took center stage. Each competitor undoubtedly spent months in preparation for his or her 15 minutes in the spotlight. Within these months, a specific coffee or coffees were meticulously chosen to be best represented by this competitor. With hours upon hours of routine rehearsal and revisions to one’s speech, there is no quicker way for a Barista to gain invaluable knowledge & experience then to have the fortitude to compete (no offenses to those Scott Rao fans out there).
This dedication and growth curve was easily on display for the two days of competition. With an inspiringly large audience that helped to cheer on the first day of great performances, each competitor were equally scrutinized by calibrated judges in an effort to find the top 6 challengers for the final day. Being fortunate to help judge the past two Singapore National Barista Championships (SNBC), it was easy to see the caliber of performances increase to a level on par with industry power houses such as Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. This first day of competition brought great excitement to the Common Man Team, as Xin Loke made it into the top 6 finalists in hopes of recapturing her crown.
The following day an even bigger supportive and passionate crowd filled the void of the convention halls, in-which they stood witness to Singapore’s top Baristas battle out the finals. Each competitor held nothing back in an effort to be crowned the 2015 SNBC champion. With amazing coffees on display (often from Central America or East Africa) and the previous day’s jitters gone, each of the competitors routines were a formidable attempt to take the crown. In the end, after the suspense of a careful judges deliberation, John Ryan Ting (a veteran of a previous win in early 2000s and recently a WBC judge) brought all his experience to the table to find a second victory. With tears in our eyes due to the loss of our own, our hats were off in celebration of John’s worthy win.
Congratulations to John Ting and to all the competitors who courageously put their skills on display in an effort to continually push our industry forward. We at Common Man will no doubt continue to support such events, in joint effort with our industry colleagues, to help inspire and challenge passionate coffee folks to elevate their knowledge and experience through competition.
Now with your coffee cup held high, here’s to 2016 SNBC!