In 2001, the region’s premier barista competition, the Danes Grand Barista Championship, was developed by Danes Gourmet Coffee Managing Director Paul Jackson. The dream was a lofty one; to bring together Australia’s top baristas under one roof to compete for the title of best barista! In doing so, the bar of coffee standards would be raised and baristas would receive long-due recognition for their contribution to Australian coffee culture. The time had come for ‘barista’ to be recognized as a true profession.
Since its beginnings, the DGBC has welcomed over 1,000 competitors worldwide. It has provided a platform for Australian and Hong Kong baristas to showcase their skills in front of industry experts and has also been a place for sharing expertise and knowledge. Through this, the Championship has contributed to the increase in specialty coffee standards across Australia and the region.
Competitors are judged by a panel of local and overseas industry professionals, from cafe owners to coffee roasters. Baristas are assessed on variables such as taste, presentation, technique, personal presentation, cleanliness, efficiency and productivity.
In 2011, the DGBC was held outside the country for the first time, in Bangkok, Thailand. Following on from this, the 2013 DGBC was held as part of HOFEX, in Hong Kong. For the first time since the DGBC’s inception, it was won by Thailand, with second place going to Hong Kong. This truly amazing feat for both countries showed how they used the DGBC as an espresso standard and with this, improved the overall standard in their respective countries - all in a space of just four years.
As coffee culture grows and thrives in Australia and around the world, the DGBC is proud to have created a competitive arena for professionals to measure their skills against others. The event has followed and contributed to the incredible rise in barista talent and standards. It has resulted in increased recognition of the art and skill of coffee-making and has assisted in establishing a Specialty Coffee industry.