Busan to host Asia's first World Barista Championship

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : April 24, 2023, 15:27 Updated : April 4, 2024, 10:46

[Courtesy of World Coffee Events]

SEOUL -- A global barista competition to select the best barista among 60 candidates will take place in South Korea's southern port city of Busan, well known for the city's affection for coffee. Using a coffee machine, participants will create 12 beverages such as espresso and milk-based drinks for 15 minutes in front of certified judges from all over the world.
Busan said in a statement that the 2024 World Barista Championship (WBC) will be held for four days starting on May 1, 2024. The event that took place annually in Europe is being held in Asia for the first time. During the competition, the 2024 World of Coffee (WOC), an event designed to showcase global coffee extract suppliers, coffee-related educational programs, and seminars will also happen. Busan said more than 11,000 officials in the coffee industry from some 120 countries will take part in the two events.
The events will be organized by Exporum, an international exhibition operator that partnered with the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), a global coffee community of baristas and coffee experts. The SCA is a nonprofit organization that issues international barista certificates. The organization signed an agreement with Busan in November 2022 to build big data of green, unroasted coffee beans that baristas can access to choose the ideal type of coffee for their shops. 
On April 10, a consortium that consists of various coffee-related associations and research institutes was launched in Busan to nurture the city's thriving coffee industry and provide efficient coffee-related policies. Busan with a population of some 3.3 million has a total of 5,669 coffee shops out of some 83,000 in South Korea with a population of 51.8 million. The southern port city has many streets with unique coffee shops favored by tourists. Jeonpo Café Street with different colorful coffee shops in central Busan was selected as one of the must-visit locations by the New York Times and CNN.
Data released by the Korea Customs Service showed that South Korea imported about $1.3 billion worth of coffee beans in 2022, up 42.4 percent from a year ago. The country's imports of coffee beans skyrocketed to $920 million in 2021 from $660 million in 2019. In 2022, Brazil was the largest exporter, followed by Vietnam, and Columbia. 
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