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Engineering the Perfect Cup: Venezuelan Barista's Journey to the World Championship

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Salman Khan
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Engineering the Perfect Cup: Venezuelan Barista's Journey to the World Championship

From the heart of the Andean mountains, where the coffee cherries ripen under the tropical sun, to the busy cafes of Caracas, the story of Óscar González is not merely about a journey, but rather a love affair with the humble coffee bean. An electronic engineer graduate from Simón Bolívar University, González is set to represent Venezuela in the 2024 World Baristas Championship in Busan, South Korea.

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Passion Brewed from Unlikely Beginnings

His path to becoming a barista was not initially planned. After graduating as an electronic engineer, he found himself jobless and took up work in a café. Initially intimidated by the intricacies of the coffee machine, he discovered that his background in math, physics, and chemistry could be applied to the art of making coffee. The fear transformed into fascination, and eventually into passion.

Over the course of 12 years, González honed his skills, participated in various competitions, and won several titles. He credits his mentors, Paramaconi Acosta and Janinna Pojan, for introducing him to the world of baristas and his success in the industry.

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Championing Venezuelan Coffee

González triumphed in the Second National Barista Championship held during the Fourth Edition of Caracas Quiere Café. This event, endorsed by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and the World Coffee Events Organization, was a testament to the growing specialty coffee movement in Venezuela. His victory was not only a personal achievement but a victory for Venezuelan coffee, a product he believes can captivate the world.

Now, González and his team have six months to prepare for the World Baristas Championship. More than just participation, they aim to compete, win, and make an impact. They believe that their coffee, made from the Monteclaro variety grown in the state of Táchira, has the potential to change the course of Venezuela's coffee industry.

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A Blend of Innovation and Tradition

In preparation for the championship, González assembled a team of experts, including a coffee farmer, a coffee taster, a psychologist, and a theater professor. They used innovative techniques and tools to create unique coffee experiences. For instance, González showcased the use of the Paragon Chilling Rock, an Australian invention that retains volatile components and enhances the flavors of the coffee.

Despite the challenges in Venezuela's coffee industry, González remains optimistic. He believes that Venezuelan coffee has the potential to captivate the world and that his participation in the World Baristas Championship can put Venezuela on the map as a producer of specialty coffee. For González, coffee is not just a job, but a passion and a way to make a positive impact on his country's history.

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