Iran held its first-ever National Barista Championship competition earlier this month. According to Sprudge, Iran is a "tea-focused country," where until very recently, asking if someone wanted tea or coffee would be an "absurd" question. So a competition like the Islamic Republic of Iran National Barista Championship is rare.
36 of the nation's best coffee professionals gathered over the weekend for a three-day competition to determine who will be Iran's first representative to the World Barista Championships in Seattle this April. The competitors — who trained for months by watching hours of footage from previous championships and making hundreds of cups of coffee — are judged on everything from technique to timing to taste. After multiple rounds of competition, Mehran Mohammad Nejad was named the first Iranian Barista Champion.
Sprudge writes that the Iranian Barista Championship would not have taken place without help from Iranian-American barista Laila Ghambari, the 2014 US Barista Champion. Ghambari and her father, who owns a coffee shop, are board members for the Iranian Barista Guild, a coffee non-profit that helped set up the competition.