Two new events have been added to my schedule in March, the 2011 European Team Coffee Challenge in St. Petersburg and 2011 Swedish Barista Cup in Stockholm organized by the SCAE Russian and Swedish chapters.

The ETCC and Northwest Russia Regional Barista Championship is the first leg of the Russian Coffee Marathon, a 2-stage event beginning in St. Petersburg on March 9-11 in cooperation with the ExpoHoReCa exhibition and continuing in Moscow on March 14-19 at the 2011 Russian National Barista Championship.

The ETCC is a unique and light-hearted competition for national teams of baristas held in an informal atmosphere. Barista teams from different countries will be able to show their professional and creative approaches to coffee, as well as relax and exchange ideas and experiences as friends.

The 2011 edition will be the fourth time that the ETCC has been held, and the second time that it has been hosted in Russia. This year, teams from Finland, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Ukraine and Ireland have already confirmed their participation, and we hope to be joined also by teams from Estonia, Spain, Poland and Iceland.

I’ll be on-hand to participate in the St. Petersburg events and also on the speakers’ program to discuss recent developments in the world coffee market.

Immediately following the ETCC, I continue on to Stockholm to speak at the March 12 lecture series at the Swedish Barista Cup. Now in its 11th year, the event will host three national competitions under one roof on March 12-14: the Swedish Barista Championship, Swedish Cupping Championship and Swedish Latte Art Championship. A complete itinerary will be posted to the SCAE Sweden website soon.

We’re going to need an awful lot of coffee to stay warm, so you had better get those machines switched on now!