Kenya National Barista Championship


Photo Credits: Susan Wong

March 31, 2011 – The finals for the Kenya National Barista Championship were held today at Junction.  Sponsored by both Nairobi Java House and C. Dormans, the champion will go on to represent Kenya in the 12th World Barista Championship in Colombia June 2-5, 2011.

Six Kenyan finalists competed today based on their technical skills, understanding of the coffee bean, and creativity.  Each competitor used their own beans that have been roasted and supplied by themselves, which ensured optimal understanding of the body, flavours and aromas of the bean.  The barista’s technical skills were scored separately by two technical judges.  Each barista also created a signature drink where their creativity was showcased.

The annual event is a great platform for the coffee sector to raise public awareness on coffee culture and setting benchmarks for practicing baristas in the Kenyan coffee service industry.

The highest Kenyan finish at the World Barista Championships was 12th place back in 2002.  The goal from the Kenyan organizing team is a top 10 finish for 2011 in Colombia.

C. Dormans’ Director of Retail Operations Eric Omondi, noted the importance of training baristas properly.

“When we first started supplying coffee to hotels, the baristas would ruin our roasts through poor coffee preparation.  Consumers would assume it was our roast, but in actuality, we had a great roast,” Omondi explained.

As a result C. Dormans’ started the first certified barista training program in the country, which was certified by the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe to educate aspiring baristas on the technical and creative aspects of brewing coffee.


Featured Competing Baristas


barista_competitor_980542871.jpgDAVID AMUTABI – JAVA

This year is Amutabi’s 2nd barista competition.  

He noted the importance of a barista’s coffee understanding in the competition: “Each barista should be capable of expressing their coffee and brewing a good espresso.”  

Amutabi’s signature drink married flavours of hazelnuts and cinnamon, which was then combined with heavy cream and a shot of espresso.  Finally, the drink was topped with special homemade chocolate fudge!  




barista_competitor2_819700413.jpgCATHERINE MARINGI – C. DORMANS

A 5 year veteran of the Championships, Maringi prepared for the competition for the last 2 months.

Inspired by her love for chocolate and flowers, Maringi signature drink included chocolate, cinnamon, hibiscus, cream and a shot of espresso.

“I would name it HibiChoc!” said Maringi.




When asked about featuring their baristas’ signature drinks on their menus, both C. Dormans and Java executives have promised to do so in about 2 weeks time.  

Can’t wait to give these signature drinks a try!

Remember to follow us on TWITTER @CFMlifestyle and @SusanLuckyWong (the author)








Susan Wong is the Editor of Capital Lifestyle, a resident photographer, an award-winning journalist, radio presenter, full-time adventurer, long-time admirer of anything edible, and a spicy food athlete at Capital FM.

  • Anonymous

    Garbage in, Garbage out.

  • Memba67

    I agree with this article half heartedly especially the comments you’ve reiterated concerning Kibaki. I respect him as the president of Kenya but during his tenure he never valued other tribes in sharing the National cake right away fro the moment he took power. All major branches in government were headed by people from central infact statitically he flooded top government jobs with folks from Central province. Just recently there has been an outcry in the Attoney Generals office where every sinior post is helfd by a kikuyu and on and on———should kenya vote in another central individual as president?

  • Biasharabilasiasa

    Like your positive tone and call for unity.  However, there is no such thing as Kikuyu-Luo divide and do not use those words again.  What there is, is fierce competition between the 2 groups and other Kenyan groups for political power.  As a result the leaders of these communities use their self-interests to misrepresent what the other community stands for and blame each other for their perceived misfortunes.  The Kenyatta/Odinga tussle is a tussle for political power that drags the entire communities into their duel.

    In reality most Kenyans have many friends who are Kikuyu, Luo, Kale, Kamba whatever.  I personally employ Kenyans from all parts of Kenya and some of my best workers are from minority communities that do not even compete for political power.  There are on my speed dial whenever I have a job that requires their skills.  I do not first ask myself– are they not from ….

  • Ombati5623

    I agree with Biasharabilasiasa that you slay the tribal dragon each time you employ a Kenyan not from your community, date or marry a person from another community or have friendships that go beyond your tribe.  I visited the US last year and was surprised when I attended a party where no other Kenyan was from a different community! How could that be you cannot invite a Luhya to your party or a Kisii and they are all over the same town?  So hii dragon is not just Kikuyu-Luo and it hs crossed the Atlantic and will be found in the so called diaspora.

  • William

    I totally agree with the article. However I also think the devide goes beyond the Luo/Kikuyu. It involves all major ethnic groups essentially because all the major groups have presidential candidates and the candidates wish to improve their chances by forming ethnic alliances. Ethnic alliances can only prosper by use of negative ethnicity. Negative ethnicity is a major problem in this country and the matter needs to addressed effectively at central government level. For instance there is no good reason why vernacular languages have not been banned in government offices and in public places. I believe this is one small way to improve cohesion.

    The government should go further and facilitate the formation of a forum for all Kenyans to give their proposals on how to fight negative ethnicity and build one strong Kenya for all Kenyans. Kibaki tried by sitting on the 3 legged stool but he can do much more. He needs to have more advisers from other ethnic groups. When we voted for him in 2002 we so him as a Kenyan first and foremost, The same applies to all other leading politicians.

    To Mr Wambugu; Good work. Please keep it.

  • Mwangijurist

    Tell it to the fish an stop pretending you can cash on perceived differences by individuals by blowing them to look community issues, it stinks that such a abominable an low article would come from one who claims to have gone to school,

  • Anonymous

    A good article Ngunjiri. Although I still have my doubts as to whether
    Kibaki is GENUINELY bridging the Luo-Kikuyu devide. I still see and feel
    CONTEMPT flowing from the guy – just read his body language, you’ll see

    However you were spot on and 100% right by stating the following:

    Luo/Kikuyu devide is still with us nationally, to the extent that I am
    convinced that this is what is driving the ongoing ‘peace’ rallies by
    Uhuru, Ruto & their friends. Jomo Kenyatta’s son is trying to tap
    into this very powerful though very negative force, to build his &
    his allies political bases, as they counter the ICC charges. What this
    group is doing can only be termed as breeding negative energy back into
    our national, regional & local political competitions, despite the
    fact that most of us actually want to co-exist… There are those who
    will continue to milk the Luo-Kikuyu divide for personal interests. The
    fear it generates especially amongst the Kikuyus is an easy strategy
    towards deterring them from supporting a Raila presidential bid.”

    thing that the Uhuru and Ruto gang should remember is that Gods name
    should not be used in vain. When you do so, you annoy God and his
    punishment can be deadly. They held these “prayers” before the charges
    were confirmed but God ignored them and their charges were confirmed.
    They should not pretend to be holding “peace” rallies where “prayers”
    constitute 7 minutes of the rally and then for the next 2 hours they
    concentrate in shouting hate filled messages while frequently – at short
    intervals – sending hate and lies filled “verbal missiles” in the
    direction their favorite object of HATE.

  • I disagree with the writer of this article! Kenya is much bigger than 2 communities for him to assume that once they work together, everything else goes right and everyone is happy! The fear of domination by these two communities largely contributed to the formation of KADU in our independence year. I honestly think that if destiny dictates that they belong to different political ideologies, the better for everyone. in the US a Republican will never pretend to be a Democrat, same as Conservatives and Labour guys in the UK.

    And one other thing; when H.E Hon Mwai Kibaki was installed an Elder, the attire looked remarkably different from the one worn by Hon Ruto and it seemed like one of them was duped! 

  • Tim_orwah

    kibaki has done very little to bridge the gap btwn kiuks and luos, Nyanza has been marginalised since independence so lie to us about economic flagships initiated by kibaki government.

  • Mzalendokamili

    Myths and innuendos have over the years become gospel truth to many from both sides of the Kikuyu/Luo divide thus fueling this ridiculous pseudo-conflict.

    Unfortunately, this cancer has also spread to other communities in Kenya today so that they are now being played one against the rest depending on who is pouring vitriol and spreading what propaganda against the other side.

     Raila is obviously the target at present given that the other “strong” tribal presidential candidates seem to have ganged up against him hoping that their tirades will work in their favor and one of them will go home with the spoils.

    In politics, nothing is quite like it appears to be and tomorrow you never know whose loyalties may be seen as suspect and therefore become the focus of the derision and bad manners being exhibited against Raila today.

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