Another tea drinking country is experiencing a surge in coffee consumption. We’ve seen it happening in China, Japan, Thailand, New Zealand, Great Britain and elsewhere. Now of all places, Russia’s tea-drinking culture is being challenged as coffee enjoys a rise in popularity such that at summer’s end, Russia will be the host of a barista championship! Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, since this is the country where baristas receive up to a year in training. See http://www.roaste.com/CafeRoaste/News/2011/03/09/Russian-Coffee-Wars-Are... The festival is not new, but an annual five day event called Spasskaya Tower International Military Tatoo and Music Festival. This August it will include a first for Russia: baristas from around the world will serve free specialty coffee – espresso, cappuccinos and their original signature drinks created in honor of the festival- in the country’s famed Red Square. United States 2011 Barista Champion, Pete Licata, is one of the five national barista champions planning to take part. The Director of the Soyuz Coffee Roasting Company says coffee is a natural festival addition because it brings people of different cultures together. He said “We are proud to bring the best in their craft to Moscow as ambassadors of good coffee and to experience the new and exciting coffee culture that is quickly growing in Russia.” Be watching for more information, as it is planned the festival will be covered on the internet. By clicking the image, you can go to an article about the festival with links. However the Soyuz site is still under construction. If you read Russian, the other linked site might be of interest. Baristas are now “Ambassadors of good coffee” – Is it possible to bring peace through coffee? We know tea didn’t do too well. For some reason, the coffee culture seems different. We buy and enjoy coffee from countries we otherwise might not get along with- think Yemen? China is also planning a coffee festival. They still have some apparent ambivalence toward the growth of coffee popularity, as a tea festival will be held adjacent to the coffee festival!