The Best Brew In The World

The Early Show, correspondent Melinda Murphy took the caffeinated adventure with them to find out who makes the meanest espressos and cappuccinos, coffee cups, cap, coffee, hand CBS/The Early Show

Coffee makers from far and near went to Boston to grind, tamp and froth their way to nothing less than global supremacy in the fourth Annual World Barista Championship.

The Early Show correspondent Melinda Murphy took the caffeinated adventure with them to find out who makes the meanest espressos and cappuccinos.

"I've gone for the sweet factor, something designed to amuse all your senses," says Paul Bassett, Australian Barista Champion.

Especially those of the judges.

"'How many judges are there," Barista judge Emma Markland asked herself humorously. "I think there are about 12. So you're drinking a lot of coffee. Yea, I'm super-wired at the moment."

It's as though everyone was searching for the holy grail of pick-me-ups.

"Once you've had that one great espresso, there's no going back. You're hooked," says Barista attendee Billy Wilson.

Of 24 competitors, only six made it to the finals - Denmark, Iceland, India, Norway, Russia and Australia, who kicked the whole thing off.

Within 15 minutes, each competitor had to make four espressos, four cappuccinos and four specialty drinks of their own concoction.

"I think Paul set the bar very high," says Dismas Smith, North American Barista Champion. "He was nearly flawless."

The Danes have won the past two years, much to Norway's dismay. But Iceland wasn't fazed. She even had her own rooting section.

India came in third last year. This was Russia's first year ever at the competition, so making it to the finals was a big deal.

The whole idea is to show off skills others were only beginning to learn in seminars the day before. Ambitious baristas have to learn such things as proper tamping - using 30 to 50 pounds of pressure so the coffee is packed just enough to allow the water to run through in about 25 seconds.

Coming out, the stream should be the size of a mouse's tail and there should be a caramel-colored layer on top. Of course, the true test is in the taste.

One has to first slurp to taste the brew. It is suppose to wake your taste bud. Then you do a very unladylike thing — spitting.

The java giants take the competition very seriously. Russia even hired a coach this year — Luigi Lupi, one of the legends of coffee.

But was Lupi's coaching of first time competitor Russia rewarded? Afraid not. It was Australia who took home the Golden Tamper.
  • Rome Neal

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