Brussels based barista Cathy Naert, based at AXA in Belgium, has been crowned winner of our 2018 Barista Championships.
Cathy took inspiration from the tastes of summer, with a signature drink infusion of strawberry coulis and mint, with a dollop of almond cream on top. The judges were asked to roll the sprig of mint between their hands before drinking, so the aroma of mint was infused in the tasting.
Commenting on her win Cathy said: “I’ve only been a barista for six months, and the other competitors were amazing. I can’t believe I’ve won. My drink was inspired by my favourite summer flavours. It’s been such a life experience, I’d tell any barista to enter as it’s so worth it”.
From oat milk espresso martinis to unicorn macchiatos, our Barista Championships are a chance for our baristas to show off their passion and talent for coffee. After regional heats across the UK and Europe, 16 semi-finalists took to the stage at our flagship site in Shoreditch and wowed the judges.
A competitive first round with each barista serving an espresso, milk beverage and signature drink within a ten-minute slot, saw the judges whittle it down to their top six. The six finalists spent the afternoon demonstrating their creative flair with some incredible signature drinks.
Anita Fava, based in London achieved second place with her winter spiced based signature and James Campbell, also based in London took third with his oat milk and raspberry virgin espresso martini.
Jana Slamova, Barista Academy Manager and head trainer said: “This competition gives our baristas recognition for their coffee talent and passion of coffee. I hope it continues to inspire and give them the skills and confidence they need to produce delicious coffee for our clients”.
Scott Taylor, head of coffee said: “It was a fierce competition and this year saw our finalists being told to change their coffee brand ahead of the final heat. Watching them choose their new flavours with just one hour’s preparation, is credit to the talent of each of our baristas. Cathy’s presentation and signature drink were incredible, and the flavours came together beautifully”.
Special thanks go to our suppliers who took part in our first coffee festival which was held alongside the competition. Speciality coffee roasters Matthew Algie brought their espresso warehouse with the latest coffee gadgets up for grabs. Oatly gave guests a taste of coffee action with their vegan coffee cocktails. Genuine Liquorette oversaw the ever-popular cocktail bar, serving their signature cha-chunker cocktails at the afterparty.
As the 2018 Barista Champion, Cathy will enjoy a tour of the Matthew Algie roastery in Glasgow, tickets to attend the World of Coffee show 2019 in Berlin and will be entered in the SCA’s 2019 UK Barista Championship.