In 2003, 25-year-old Paul Bassett from Australia was officially named the world’s best barista. He won the World Barista Championship title in the third international competition held in Boston. The runners-up were from Iceland and Norway. The competition was broadcast on national morning TV to over 20 million Americans.
Trading on his reputation as the world’s best barista (2003), he has since opened coffee outlets in Seoul, Korea, and Tokyo. His first Tokyo shop was opened in Ginza in 2006. Some of his Tokyo shops have since closed, leaving one in the Shinjuku district. Each location does its own roasting.
In Australia Bassett also has a business wholesaling coffee to cafes under the name of Bassett Espresso. The company also supplies and services the associated machinery and trains baristas. There is an online store selling single-source coffees and Bassett’s own special blend, with regularly changing featured coffees.
His website sings the praises of single-origin coffee, saying “The beauty of experiencing single-provenance coffee is its ability to connect you to its sense of place. It allows you to appreciate the terroir and people who have nurtured the coffee during its journey to the cup. ”
The World Barista Championship began in 2000 in Monte Carlo. The following year, the Australian Barista Championship was held for the first time.