Coffee leadership and beverage innovation shine at the Asia Pacific Regional Barista Championships 2024 in Hong Kong

As each finalist stepped on stage, excitement and anticipation filled the air. This was the moment that the Starbucks baristas had been training for. Over the course of a 15-minute presentation, the finalists executed their Pour Over, Latte Art, and Signature Beverage while telling a story of what inspired their unique creations. The crowd of some 480 Starbucks partners watched in awe and cheered with pride as the baristas gave their best in front of a panel of judges.

Last week, 27 of the most talented Starbucks baristas from across Asia Pacific and Japan came together in Hong Kong to compete for the titles of Regional Barista Champion and Latte Art Champion. Now in its 8th year, the Asia Pacific Regional Barista Championships is a time-honored platform that celebrates the deep coffee passion, craft, and expertise of Starbucks partners. This year, the competition spanned four days and saw the competitors showcase their coffee knowledge and creativity, as they fiercely represented the best of coffee craft from 14 markets across the region.

After a close competition, Nobuki from Starbucks Japan was named the 2024 Regional Barista Champion in front of a live crowd, as well as 30,000 coffee passionate partners who tuned in to watch the live broadcast. During his presentation, Nobuki’s expertise for coffee shined on stage, through his deep knowledge about coffee origins, ingredients, and presentation that led to a compelling display of passion for the craft.

“I am honored to be named this year’s Regional Barista Champion,” said Nobuki. “There was so much talent and heart on stage today, representing the best of Starbucks in all of Asia Pacific. I can’t thank my partners in Japan enough for all of the strong support, encouragement, and months of training that led to this amazing opportunity.”

Renauldy from Starbucks Indonesia emerged as the 2024 Latte Art Champion. His exceptional talent went beyond creating beautifully crafted latte art; he wove moments of connection and storytelling over coffee, taking the judges on an unforgettable journey.

“Latte art takes endless hours and dedication, but it’s about more than just practicing the art itself – it’s also about creating a story and evoking feelings,” said Renauldy. “I see latte art as a way to put a smile on a customer’s face and create moments of human connection. I’m humbled to be recognized as this year’s Latte Art Champion and look forward to continuing to hone my skills.”

Beyond the competition, the event also represents an opportunity for Starbucks partners to come together as a community. The immersive Coffee Show was about knowledge-sharing through engaging partner-led workshops, immersive experiences, and thought-provoking conversations. Partners had a chance to come together to connect, learn from one another, and elevate the coffee experience for our customers.

Highlights from the Coffee Show included a brewing workshop, where partners learned how to brew the perfect cup of coffee, and a cupping and coffee quality workshop, where partners learned how to assess the nuances of taste, flavor, and overall coffee quality. Partners also had the chance to visit the Celebrity Bar to meet last year’s Starbucks Asia Pacific Regional Barista Champion, Allen Tai, and Hong Kong’s 2023 Barista Champion, Seven Li, while getting a chance to try their winning handcrafted beverages.

“Baristas are the heart of Starbucks, and this event is the platform where they can truly shine and demonstrate their coffee knowledge and innovation on the grand stage,” said Emmy Kan, president, Starbucks Asia Pacific. “I am incredibly proud of our partners and their relentless pursuit of the limitless possibilities of world-class coffee experiences. And I am grateful to every one of them for their strong commitment and dedication to coffee, craft, and the brand.”

The Asia Pacific Regional Barista Championships continues to be a platform to celebrate the incredible talent and impact of partners in the region, while supporting their professional growth. It’s a place for partners to come together, demonstrate their unwavering commitment and dedication to coffee craft, and bring the best Starbucks Experience to customers in the region and beyond.

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