María Elena Rivera Garita
Kaba Coffee Center// Franco Specialty Coffee Shop
Please tell us a little about yourself:
I’m 27 years old. I graduated in Tourism in 2012 and in that year I got interested in food services. I started working in a coffee shop, and I remember preparing my first cup of coffee. I saw the happiness of the customer, and I knew in that moment that I wanted to become a professional barista.
What are you excited to do in Boston?:
I am excited to visit Harvard University. I think it is one of the best universities in the world. Other than that, I would like to visit the Boston Beer Company, because Samuel Adams is one of my favourite beers.
Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:
Costa Rica Barista Challenge 2015 – 6th Place
Costa Rica Master Barista 2016 – 1st Place
National Barista Championship 2016 – 3rd Place
Fushan Cup International Barista Championship 2017 – I was invited
National Barista Championship 2019 – 1st Place
How do you see the coffee industry changing in the future?:
Nowadays baristas are recognized as professionals, with the complete knowledge to transmit to consumers. Both consumers and large companies are already seeing the importance of specialty coffee, creating many ways to prepare it so that baristas can serve it in the best way. The best thing of all is that the hard work of the coffee producers is being recognized.
Where do you see yourself in five years?:
As a barista from a producing country, I believe that I could be the next World Barista Champion. I’d like to generate a change in the coffee industry, so that all producers can be a part of the whole coffee value chain.
What are your interests outside of coffee?:
I love to cook and drink good wine. I like to read, and to do yoga, so that I can relax. I like to travel and see new places, but most of all, I like to meet people from other parts of the world.
Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognize, or who helped you to prepare for the WBC?:
I will like to thank all of my team that helped me become a National Champion, and who are helping me with all my preparations for the WBC. First of all I want to thank, Antonio Barrantes and Carlos Barrantes, from “HERBAZU” and “La Perla del Café” Micro-mills, for supporting me with the coffees I will use for the competition.
Next, Kaba Coffee Center, SCACR (Specialty Coffee Association of Costa Rica), and ICAFE (Costa Rican Coffee Institute), for helping me through this entire process.
I would like to thank two of the best coffee shops in Costa Rica, “Café Nueve”, and “Franco”, for all the support they have given me.
And last but not least, my family and my team, for believing in me throughout this process.