Over the last few days the world’s best baristas have been battling it out over in Vienna for the 2012 World Barista Championship. I’ve been too busy to watch it live given that I’m traveling at the moment, but it’s always worth watching these presentations to see what the state of the art is in coffee brewing. These contests help create standards, reference points, and sometimes push the envelope in coffee preparation. To be in the final six is a great achievement, but there can be only one winner and this year it is Raul Rodas from Guatemala.

This is only the second time, and the second year in a row, in which a competitor from a coffee producing nation has won the competition (last year’s winner was Alejandor Mendez from El Salvador). What this trend hints at is the potential for greater collaboration between baristas, roasters, and coffee producers going forward as the specialty coffee industry truly globalizes.

The complete list of finalists are as follows:

1st – Raul Rodas, Guatemala
2nd – Fabrizio Sención Ramírez, Mexico
3rd – Colin Harmon, Ireland
4th – Miki Suzuki, Japan
5th – Stefanos Domatiotis, Greece
6th – Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, United Kingdom

Be sure to check out the videos of each barista’s presentation, they are all outstanding. A big congratulations to all competitors, especially Raul Rodas!