PRECISION, passion and personality — these are what make up a perfect cup of coffee. These qualities, too, are what made Cebu’s Gio Visitacion to be hailed as the 2024 Philippine Barista Champion as announced by the Philippine National Coffee Competitions (PNCC).
The Good Cup Coffee president will gear up to represent the Philippines at the 2024 World Barista Championships in Busan, South Korea from May 1 to 4, 2024.
“I am incredibly grateful to be chosen as the representative of the Philippines for the upcoming World Barista Championship in Korea this May. I will give it my all and I will do my best to be a great representative of our country. This time, I’ll give it my 200 percent,” wrote Visitacion in a Facebook post.
The National Barista Competition, held at the Sheraton Manila Hotel Collab Loft on Jan. 20 and 21, showcased baristas from across the country. In a 15-minute routine, Visitacion cleverly whipped up unforgettable flavors and a message.
The competition was structured to extract from each competing barista a quartet of perfectly brewed cups, including an espresso, milk beverages and a signature beverage. His winning concept, with the perfect background music, was what set him apart. Every cup has a story and Visitacion narrated it beautifully.
“This win is a result of people believing in me when it was hard to believe in myself. I am grateful, humbled and honored with the support of each individual who made an effort to remind me that I can do it,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Competitors are required to extend their focus beyond the cups, exploring not only the technical details but also the art of overall presentation. In this context, their depth of coffee knowledge becomes pivotal in setting the stage. By seamlessly integrating their expertise into the narrative, competitors also offer valuable insights into the anticipated flavors.
“From early morning grinds to late night practices and continuous incremental improvements mentored by people who truly value your individual progression, I felt like I am winning within myself already because I’m giving it my all,” said Visitacion.
Still, victory isn’t measured in ounces of coffee. Visitacion expressed that destination is no longer the core focus. Instead, he found victory along the process.
“Preparing for the national championships made me realize that the process is what builds the champions within us. There will be a point where the destination is not the core focus anymore. Being obsessed about the journey is my biggest takeaway from all of this.”
Amid the grind, tamp and pour witnessed in the competition, baristas view it not as a contentious battle but rather as a collective pursuit to elevate the country’s coffee scene. The event demonstrated both the process and the result. Visitacion, in the same manner, has shown the excellence and possibilities of what’s achievable in the craft.
Visitacion, now the Philippine Barista Champion, will stand alongside other national champions at the 2024 World Barista Championships. Joining forces with Philippine Brewers Cup champion Lui Selorio of Crema and Cream, as well as Philippine Latte Art champion Mark Joseph Lingat, the trio are all ready to leave a mark on the global coffee community.