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Spanish Down Barista Championships: forty-seven people with Down syndrome trained as coffee experts

Asturias, December 22th, 2014. The beautiful Lestrove Palace, on the northwest of Spain hosted last Sunday the III Galician Down Barista Championship, the fourth and the last contest for baristas with Down syndrome this year.

Besides the Galician Championship, the oldest one, other three Spanish regions hosted their first edition of the Down Barista Championships during 2014: Andalusia, Asturias and Murcia.

The initiative, which is unique in the world so far, is promoted by the Spanish coffee company Cafento with the active and bold support of several Down syndrome organizations: Assido, Down Compostela, Down Córdoba, Down Principado de Asturias and Down Vigo.

The week before the Championships, contestants are trained as professionals by top baristas from Escuela Cafento (Cafento School). After the contest the winners are granted a period of real practice in some of the best local hotels and restaurants.

In 2014 forty-seven people with Down syndrome were trained as baristas, and more than half of them had the chance to perform their barista skills in real professional environments.

Championships consist of a performance where, divided in teams, the participants prepare two espressos, two latte art cappuccinos and two coffee cocktails before official barista judges. Every step is explained to the public and judges by a speaker, which is a role some team members play taking turns.

“We would love this initiative to spread to other countries and companies in the industry”, says Tiago Lemos, Cafento Marketing Director, “We will gladly share our experience with anyone interested”.

Championships which bring about opportunities: meeting the national football team coach… or getting a job!

Last April the Galician public television had two of the participants in the II Galician Down Barista Championships in one of their programs, for them to show their barista skills. What they did not know was the other purpose of the Galician TV guys: to take them to the Spanish capital, Madrid, to meet the national football team coach, Vicente del Bosque!

In August Cafento employed four Asturian Down baristas who had participated in the regional contest. They took care of the company’s stand at an international exhibition. And in October the company employed two of the Andalusian contestants as service technician assistants.

About the Down Barista Championships

After some utterly positive experiences training Down syndrome people as baristas, Cafento decided to organize the first and second Galician Down Barista Championships, in 2012 and 2013 respectively, with the support of Down Compostela Foundation and Down Vigo Association.

These first Down Barista Championships were so gratifying to all the people and institutions involved Cafento resolved to take a step forward and spread the initiative. Thus in 2014 other three regional contests joined the Galician one. They took place in Andalusia, Asturias and Murcia.

Some beautiful and even funny videos on this initiative can be found on Youtube. Here are two examples:

II Galician Down Barista Championship (2013)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYCjQ6uyKLw

I Asturian Down Barista Championship (2014)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJhRCVrZf38

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