At thecoffeecompass.com, we believe the specialty coffee sector is driven by community. Often, when it comes to events, smaller is better. We were intrigued when we heard about the Transylvania Brewers Cup. This Hungarian-speaking region of Romania is home to a thriving specialty coffee scene, so I was ecstatic when my company was presented with an opportunity to help sponsor the event. I caught up with the event organizer Crina Ciocian of Meron Coffee to learn more.
What inspired you to host the Transylvania Brewers Cup?
When I organized the first edition of a Brewers Cup in Meron was an event just for our colleagues. I considered multiple aspects: In Romania there is no school for baristas, it is a relatively new job. So we needed a system to teach people everything about coffee. We have a Coffee Book and training courses for all our colleagues but we wanted more for them and for ourselves. The journey that a barista takes when preparing for a competition is a very useful one. He or she learns a lot of things about coffee: from discovering new coffees, and learning how to properly present a coffee to the discipline of preparing excellent coffee.
And his or her colleagues are also involved in the process. Even though they are not competing maybe they will help them or just support them along the way.
Then, there is the fact that SCA didn’t organize any Brewers Cup since 2019. On the other hand, we wanted to gather around the community because in most industries there are a lot of events like fairs, conferences etc but in coffee, there’s not that much. Last but not least, for myself, I competed in Brewers Cup in 2019, and even though I am not a barista I learned a lot about coffee and that competition gave me a passion for specialty coffee, and I hope this is the effect that our competition will have on people: the desire of being good and better at knowing, understanding and loving the specialty coffee industry.
What is the coffee scene in Transylvania like?
In terms of specialty coffee, maybe you will be surprised but it is very well-developed. In the last 3-5 years it boomed! A lot of roasteries and specialty coffee shops appeared.
Recently we were at Slow Coffee festival in Bucharest, probably the only coffee festival in Romania, worth mentioning, and besides Bucharest, most of the other coffee shops and roastery were from Transylvania from cities such us: Cluj-Napoca, Brasov, Sibiu, Baia Mare, Oradea, etc
So you will find very good coffee spots all over Transylvania.
What does it mean for you to bring the coffee community together for this event?
We are big fans of coffee festivals, competitions, and coffee-related events. Since we opened our first Meron, we’ve been to almost every coffee festival from London to Amsterdam, Vienne, Dubai, Paris etc and to a lot of coffee competitions. We always supported our colleagues to participate in competitions, so this year we have 2 national champions: Damian Narita in Cup Tasting and Cristi Oltean Latte Art, and back in 2018 we had the Barista National Champion, Delia Avram.
My background is in organizing business events and I believe that every industry needs knowledge-sharing and advertising through events.I am very excited to host the competition and very happy about the support I’ve received from our partners.
Anything else you would like to add?
I wish that we inspire the baristas to be better at what they do, and the community to be curious and to learn and discover more about coffee. Just like food, wine and living: better coffees, better life.
Photos by Clau Morar courtesy of Meron Coffee.