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CH&CO names Barista of the Year 2021

CH&CO has crowned Julia Mello its Barista of the Year 2021. The talented Head Barista who works at University College London, showcased her first-class technical skills, knowledge and creativity at the final of the CH&CO Barista of the Year, standing out from tough competition to claim the title.

The CH&CO Barista of the Year competition celebrates coffee and the skilled Baristas across the diverse catering and hospitality business. It also gives teams the opportunity to develop their craft, share ideas and learnings, and continue to experiment and push boundaries.

In front of exprt judges, the eight finalists competed in two challenges – Blind Brewing and Latte Art Battle.

For the Blind Brewing the finalists were presented with four different mystery coffees to inspect before selecting their preferred bean and creating their own recipes, which were then brewed on their chosen device and presented to the judges to analyse for aroma, flavour, aftertaste, acidity, body and balance, and presentation.

The Latte Art Battle saw the finalists go head-to-head to recreate latte art dictated by the roll of the dice. In this exhilarating round, the judges were looking for the most accurate design, best definition in colours and visual milk quality.

The panel of expert judges included the 2018 World Barista Champion Agnieszka Rojewska, Ashley Dawes from Union Hand Roasted, Dan Harvey from La Marzocco and Ivan Fumigalli from The Roasting Party.

The runners-up were Charlie Needler, Barista working at Yorkshire Building Society and Dorija Glasovac, Head Barista at Overends Kitchen at the Airfield Estate, Dublin.

Allister Richards, COO, CH&CO, said, “It was an absolute joy to bring the Barista of the Year 2021 to its exciting finale in person, after the virtual preliminary rounds. The eight finalists were amazing and brought the art of coffee to life.

'The epitome of professionalism and creativity, each and every one of them showed composure, talent and compassion as they supported each other, engaged with the judges and spectators and generally wowed us all. The standard was incredibly high and it was a close call, so huge congratulations must go to Julia, our worthy winner.

“Julia will now tour the country, visiting our regional coffee partners throughout the UK and Ireland and inspiring her barista colleagues across the business as we continue to develop our teams and grow our coffee specialism and offer for clients and customers to enjoy.”