WOW! What an experience.I took the opportunity to travel to Tokyo for the 2007 World Barista Championships. I went with the intention of learning from the world’s leading Baristas, seeing what it takes to be a champion.There were many of Australia’s leading Baristas in Tokyo to support our Champion – Scott Callaghan. Paul Bassett (WBC 2003), David Makin (ABC 2006, 2nd ABC 2007), Ann Cooper (3rd ABC 2007), Hazel de los Reyes (ABC 2005), Corinne Tweedale (ABC 2001) were amongst the many supporters. I went with the team from Veneziano Coffee – my sponsors and trainers in the 2007 Victorian & Australian Barista Championships.In between watching the competitors, I was fortunate enough to work on the machines with some of the Champions, making coffee for the audience. It was great to learn close up from these Champions, and experiment with different techniques.Money raised from “Sales” of coffee to the audience, was used to help cover the travel costs of Baristas from developing countries. This was an initiative of Tim Wendleboe, WBC 2005.The performances of the Baristas were brilliant. It was great to see a producing country – Brazil – make it into the final 6. Other producing countries’ Baristas also produced outstanding performances, notably Costa Rica and Mexico. The dedication of all of the Baristas to their craft was obvious, and I enjoyed their polished performances, innovation and comradeship.James Hoffman won with a superb performance. He was calm throughout, even in the 1st round when his stove malfunctioned. James displayed an obvious passion for coffee and a superb knowledge of his product. He is a true Champion.You can see video coverage of the 2007 WBC Tokyo at zacharyzachary.com, and my photos on FlickrAs a developing Barista, I can thoroughly recommend attending the WBC. It has given me new ideas, and inspired me to hone my skills and encourage others to hone theirs.I’m now looking forward to Copenhagen 2008.Simon.