Coffee talent and passion take the stage at Barista Championship

The technical precision. The artistic details. Watching a Starbucks barista in action can be as awe-inspiring as a competitive sport. And now it is one. More than 2,000 Starbucks baristas recently entered the 2016 China and Asia Pacific Regional Barista Championships held in Hong Kong. Over 600 fans attended the event, as three finalists took the stage for an epic showdown of coffee mastery.

Each of the three finalists had only 25 minutes to present to an expert panel of judges. Criteria for judging included their demonstration of coffee knowledge, beverage mastery, customer service and creating memorable moments through storytelling.

Pour Over Cone Coffee Tasting: How to brew the perfect pour over and host a coffee tasting
Espresso Beverage: Creating a perfectly crafted espresso drink of their choice
Latte Art: Demonstrating artistry by making one each of rosetta and freestyle art
Signature Beverage: Making a coffee drink of their own creation

1st place: Nopparat "Yong" Arpornsuwan, Thailand
2nd place: Ryan Wibawa, Indonesia
3rd place: Hirokazu Terasaki, Japan

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11 fun facts (and 1 surprise!) about Starbucks new collectible merch