Mount Charles crowns barista of the year

One of the UK’s leading foodservice and business support solutions company, Mount Charles, has crowned employee Eniko Hadju the champion in its annual Barista of the Year competition.

The intense contest, which ran in conjunction with Johnson’s Coffee, saw eight of the best baristas from the company’s units shortlisted to just four to take part in the final.

Each of the finalists was tasked firstly with a speed trial to determine how many perfect single espressos they could produce in three minutes, followed by 20 minutes in which to make four single espressos, four double shot cappuccinos and four signature coffees.

The expert judging panel including Tim Smith, Barista Training Officer for Johnsons Coffee, Leann Duffy, Group Director of Catering at Mount Charles and Simon Toye, Group Development Chef at Mount Charles, unanimously agreed that Eniko’s presentation and taste was of the highest standard, crowning the Fed & Watered Exeter Airport employee the winner.

Leann Duffy said, “We were impressed with the level of skill and passion on show at what was a closely fought finale to our 2017 Barista of the Year competition.

“It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication to excellence, and for us the competition is a means to ensure a continued focus on pushing our skill levels to the limit.

“Well done to all those involved both in the regional heats and the final, it’s a great celebration of the talent we have within the business,” she added.

Tim Smith said, “As a Barista Trainer for Mount Charles it's satisfying to be able to judge some of the company's finest baristas at this level.

“This year our scoring was more detailed than ever, with a view to preparing baristas for various competitions across the country.

“From a training perspective these yearly barista challenges are a fantastic tool for improving the quality and raise the profile of coffee and service style across Mount Charles,” he added.

The four finalists were: Eniko Hadju (Fed & Watered, Exeter Airport), Jackie Rickard (Southern Regional College, Newry) Thomas Gourley (Fed & Watered, Belfast International Airport), Luis del Orbe (Belfast Metropolitan College.)