Take a look at the attendee list for Barista Camp over the past few years and you'll notice that we have a particularly high number of repeat attendees. This alone is a fantastic sign to us that we must be doing something right, but we wanted to take things a little further and ask our regulars why they keep on coming back!
There's a whole load of wonderful success stories from Camp so we've compiled a few for you to reminisce or be inspired. For those of you in any doubt of the value of Barista Camp, read on!
Ashley Dawes, Union Hand-Roasted Coffee.
Which camp did you attend?
I volunteered at Barista Camp Poland 2017 and attended Barista Camp Italy 2015 where I took the Brewing Intermediate course.
How did the Barista Camp change your views of working as a barista?
Working for a roastery, rather than a cafe, I felt barista camp would really help me in other aspects than being a barista. It really widened my horizons with regards to what I was capable of. I now know I can setup a cupping for 100 people, for example!
What will you change when you got back to your job?
After being Lead Volunteer at barista camp, I am now much more confident and capable at organising and running events and large teams of people. This has been really useful in my job for example, when a customer wants to hold their own barista championship, latte art throwdown or cup tasters event. At some point at barista camp, you are 100% bound to be way, way out of your comfort zone. And that’s ok. Now my comfort zone is bigger than it was before!
Why did you volunteer and would you encourage other people to volunteer?
I volunteered because I wanted to be more involved behind the scenes. I had attended barista camp before as a non-volunteering barista and completed the brewing intermediate, which I absolutely adored. I then wanted an opportunity to really get into the grit of it and be a part of the backbone of this awesome thing. I would definitely recommend others to volunteer! You will work hard, but you will learn heaps and meet some awesome people along the way. Just remember you get out what you put in.
Did you dive in?
Haha yes, you have to! There were lots of people to organise and mountains of equipment to be allocated to the training rooms, in time for the courses to begin. Be prepared to dive deep! you need to just push anything else to the back of your mind and get stuck in and work together.
Are you planning to come to Camp again?
I’m gutted to be on holiday at the same time that camp is happening this year, but I definitely plan on being at barista camp in 2019. A well as the truly invaluable experience and the gains that come with putting yourself out of your comfort zone, the motivation from being around some of coffees most knowledgable ambassadors, and the people I met along the way made the experience one of a kind.
Name: Junior Vargas Otero
Workplace: GOTA COFFEE EXPERTS
Which Barista Camp did you attend?
My first Barista camp was in Estonia 2016. It was amazing, I didn’t expect to have so much on offer in one place. Networking, knowledge and fun. So, I couldn’t wait for the next camp. Poland 2017 was also great, meeting friends again and new people from over the world.
How did Barista Camp change your outlook on your career in the coffee industry?
Camp didn’t change my outlook but gave me insight and ideas from different perspectives. It was great to have outside opinions and knowledge from people from all over the world in the lead up to opening my own café.
I also had a different view of the community. My commitment was to support producers as I thought consumers were not aware of the producers needs. But everything changed after my first camp, as I saw a huge community working together to support the coffee industry, from origin to consumers. And now I enjoy being part of this community.
Can you describe an opportunity that arose for you as a result of attending Barista Camp?
Ohh yeah, it was in Poland when the BGE team invited to be part of the panel with other coffee professionals to discuss the topic “HOW DID I GET HERE”. I felt so lucky to be able to share this experience with these people and share my own experiences and knowledge with the everyone. Mikaela and Agnieszka were talking about their experiences in coffee and competitions, and that was the moment when I decide to compete as a barista.
Why would you recommend attending Barista Camp to one of your peers?
I have already recommended Barista Camp to many peers and colleagues, because I know from my own experiences what a great opportunity it is. Barista Camp has so much to offer, for a great deal.
What are your goals and ambitions for the coming years?
So far I have achieved one of my goals which was to become an AST and my next move is to complete the CSP in order to have the full program to teach at my own Training Lab. This year I won national Barista of Austria and took place in Amsterdam which was an amazing experience, next year the aim to make it even further in the World Championships! So let’s see if I make it through the nationals again ;)
Will you be returning to Barista Camp in 2018?
To be honest I take Barista Camp as a summer holidays, learning by doing and having a great time. So, I can’t wait for Portugal!