Natalia, one of site based Head Baristas showcased her incredible talent at the final of the Barista of the Year competition where technical skills, knowledge, creativity and latte art were put to the test.
The competition designed by our Head of Coffee Tim Squirrel, made it accessible for baristas at every stage of their careers by splitting the competition into two categories – Brilliant Basics and Barista of the Year.
Barista of the Year was designed to find the ultimate barista champion. The multi-disciplinary coffee competition challenged the more experienced baristas to showcase what they can do with a big emphasis on customer service and exceptional coffee skills, including day-to-day skills, signature drink, latte art and brewing.
Brilliant Basics celebrated our emerging barista talent, showcasing the developing skills of baristas that are new to coffee or had not competed before, challenging them to demonstrate a range of skills, progression and flair with a focus on day-to-day coffee service skills, including latte art and a signature drink.
Following 5 regional heats, 13 finalists from across the UK and Ireland made it to the final in London.
The Baristas performed under the watchful eyes of expert judges including Francesca Coombe, Account Manager, Redemption Roasters; Vincenzo Barlie, Head of Coffee; Chris Hall, General Manager, Gather & Gather; Aidan Lonergan, Head of Coffee Development, Gather & Gather Ireland; Johnny England, Director of Coffee, Lofbergs and Ashley Dawes, Key Account Manager, Union Hand Roasted Coffee.
“What an amazing Barista of the Year final. The barista talent and coffee knowledge we have is superb and it’s great to have the opportunity to showcase and celebrate it in this way. All the finalists brought their ‘A game’ and I was blown away by their pure talent and flair. The standard was incredibly high, and it was truly a close call for the judges. Everyone should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved, but huge congratulations must go to Natalia, our worthy winner.Matt Symonds, Managing Director for Gather & Gather, part of CH&CO
Congratulations also go to Raffaella, the winner of our Brilliant Basics competition – they are most definitely a talent to watch!”