The First Woman To Ever Win The World Barista Championship In 2018

Hosted by World Coffee Events, the World Barista Championship is an annual competition designed to encourage and recognize professional baristas on an international scale (via World Barista Championship). Competitors have 15 minutes to make espressos, milk coffees, and signature drinks that judges rank based on technical and sensory criteria. The texture, taste, and appearance of the drinks and how the baristas move about the coffee machines are evaluated in a series of rounds in which each participant battles to advance into the competition's final showcase.

The event is organized in a different city each year, notes Perfect Daily Grind, and participants are pre-selected based on national and regional competitions. In 2018, the championship was held in Amsterdam, with baristas from nearly 60 different nations brewing coffee in front of a live audience (per World Barista Championship). And for the first time since the event's conception, a female barista was crowned the winner.

A competitive platform for coffee professionals

Beans Scene Magazine reports Polish barista Agnieszka Rojewska brewed Ethiopian coffee, choosing the variety for its flavor, and bringing out strawberry elements in an aromatic milk beverage. Her signature beverage was made with passionfruit, coconut sugar, milk, lime juice, and espresso, and she completed the beverage right before the timer ended.

Rojewska's drinks helped her become the first woman to claim the championship title, edging out 55 other baristas in the competition. It wasn't the first time she's won — she has participated in competitions since 2011 — nor was it the last: Rojewska claimed first prize in the 2022 World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship (via Barista Magazine). When asked about the benefits of participating in barista competitions, Rojewska told Perfect Daily Grind, "It's an opportunity to share ideas and approaches on stage, gather a community, and help promote high-quality coffee."

Her advice to aspiring baristas thinking about competing? Just do it. "I can tell you — you are never ready, you will never be 100% prepared, you will never get that perfect coffee... Even with simple preparation, your first time will tell you if you even enjoy it or not, how can you prepare better, or do it again," she shared with Specialty Coffee Association. "If you are going to compete for the first time, keep in mind that you probably won't win, and you need to ask yourself if you are okay with that." This approach has served Rojewska well.