The third annual Vanuatu International Coffee Barista Championships were held during the last week (11-13th
November) at the Air Vanuatu Catering Facility in Port Vila, in conjunction with the Vanuatu Chefs Association annual
Culinary Art Show. This exciting annual ‘Coffee Event’ is proudly supported by the Vanuatu Hotel and Resort Association (VHRA)
and the Vanuatu Tourism Organisation (VTO) and this year has attracted over 30 local competitors from the many Resorts,
Cafés and Restaurants throughout Vanuatu, along with 8 International Barista competitors from as far away as Australia,
Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Kiribati.
Two International Barista Championship Judges attended this years event from Australia, Mr. Robert Forsyth
(of Forsyth Coffee & Tea) and Mr. Keith Pettigrew (from Coffee-Lab Australia), who were both on hand this year to initially
train and organize the local judging panel in the finer arts of professional Coffee Making and to also adjudicate on the
Barista competitors. These two international judges were greatly assisted by Mr. Matt Milletto of the (Bellissimo Coffee
Info Group) from Portland Oregon in the USA, who is a professional Coffee Consultant and Barista trainer, who flew to
Vanuatu as a special guest.
During the competition, each of the competitors had to produce a set of 4 Espresso’s, 4 Cappuccino’s and 4
Signature Coffees over a 15 minute period and they were judged on their overall quality, efficiency, presentation and
professionalism. The standard of the espresso’s and cappuccino’s that were produced was very high indeed as they were all
made in accordance with stringent International Regulations, but it was in the Signature Coffee section that some ‘local
flair’ was introduced with the addition of some locally grown products such as fresh vanilla, honey, coconut cream, cocoa,
‘switi’ ice cream and Kava.
After two days of intense competition, the winners were finally announced and this years International
Winner was a very excited Teeren Aata from the Kiribati Islands, who is currently undertaking a full-time course in
Hospitality at the Australia Pacific Training College (APTC) here in Port Vila. As the first prize recipient, Teeren has
won herself a fully-paid trip and great holiday to Tanna Island (courtesy of Air Vanuatu, Friendly Bungalows and Tanna
Coffee), to visit all of the wonderful sights and spectacular attractions that Tanna has to offer, along with a great
opportunity to expand her skills and knowledge in Coffee production and processing.
The Local Barista Championship was awarded to Diana Bangalulu, who is well known for the excellent coffee
that she consistently produces at the Coconut Palms Resort. Diana worked diligently during her 15 minute presentation and
she obviously managed to captivate all of the judges attention with her perfectly poured espresso shots, creamy
cappuccino’s, saucy signature coffee and broad beaming smile. For her great efforts she has won herself a fully-paid trip
and holiday to New Zealand (courtesy of Air Vanuatu and Moorings Hotel), where she will spend time taking in the sights and
attractions of what New Zealand has to offer, as well as visiting several local Coffee Roasters, Cafes and Restaurants
during her stay.
The Barista Competition culminated with a wonderful ‘Fun Day’ on the lawns in front of ‘La Tentation’
Restaurant overlooking Port Vila harbour where all of the competitors, judges, sponsors and the general public were invited
to join in with some intensive hands-on training in the ‘Art of Coffee Making’ from the International Judges and to also
experienced the delights of producing some professional ‘Latte Art’. These events were then followed by the ‘Gun Barista’
championship where competitors had to produce 7 espresso shots and 7 cappuccinos in the quickest time possible (with the
international record standing at 2 minutes and 40 seconds). Sandra from Chantilly’s won this event in a time of 4.01
minutes and she was very closely followed by Becky Ayers from PNG (APTC) in a time of 4.02 minutes.
Such an outstanding and successful event as this could not be possible without the wonderful support of
the Vanuatu Barista Committee and it has been through this committee and a very dedicated band of workers, supporters and
competition judges (far too numerous to mention), this group has managed to provide Vanuatu with an internationally
recognised competition using the most professional type of coffee making machinery, equipment and service available, in
order to provide a level playing field for all of the competitors and also ensure that certain competition criteria are
both met and upheld. As such, two professionally built Bo-Ema ‘Classic’ fully-automatic Espresso Machines and associated
Coffee Grinders were specifically imported with great assistance of Bo-Ema (Australia) and this essential machinery and
equipment was generously provided (along with all of the freshly roasted coffee to be used), by our own Tanna Coffee
The entire competition went off without a single problem over the entire three days and there should be
some special mentions going out to Terry, Marilys & the staff of Tanna Coffee, the APTC College (Marc, Gabrielle &
Students), Ted & Christelle (Air Vanuatu), Nick (La Tentation), Geoff (Coffee-Mate), Jo (Poppys), Pascal (Fatumaru Lodge),
Gary & Paul (Pacific-Rim Trading), Michael (Pacific Supplies), Gene Wong (Vila Handprints), Keith Thomas (ktctdotnet) and
many others, who all worked very hard to ensure that everything functioned smoothly and properly throughout the entire
event and ensured that there was always sufficient coffee, cups, saucers, glasses, water, milk, sugar, spoons etc. on hand
at all times.
Whilst the overall aim and objective of this competition is to highlight the wonderful culinary
experiences that Vanuatu has to offer the many thousands of tourists and overseas visitors that arrive here annually, it is
also a wonderful opportunity for a vital section of the hospitality sector to not only showcase their local coffee making
skills and knowledge by competing at such an international level, but to also learn and gain further experience from
professionals in the same field, which will ultimately elevate the overall level of the coffee making and drinking culture
that is now thriving throughout Vanuatu.