LOCAL COMPETITOR JUDGED TOP BARISTA IN NORTHERN HEAT
In a closely fought contest, judges at the Northern heat of the 2012 UK Barista Championships (UKBC), announced Gordon Howell of The Attic (at Harlequin Coffee and Tea House) York as the Northern Barista Champion on Friday 17th February. Gordon was followed closely by Stuart Archer of Pumphrey’s Coffee House in Blaydon who finished second and Steven Dyson of Spring Espresso in third place. Both runners up still have a chance of making it to the London semi-finals in April should they be among the top 20 scoring baristas from across the country.
The baristas had 15 minutes to impress a team of judges by serving up espressos, cappuccinos and their own signature espresso. The winner of the Best Espresso went to Gordon, but unlike previous competitors he was not able to sweep the board as Jo Meagher beat him to win the Best Cappuccino award and Best Signature Drink went to Tom Booth.
Gordon used Has Bean’s “Jailbreak” coffee for all three drink categories. Commenting on his signature drink Gordon said; “I deconstructed the blend to highlight each coffee’s characteristics by preparing the coffees individually as a pourover or aeropress. I wanted to give the judges a totally sensory experience with aromas and taste coming together right at the end by folding the ingredients into the espresso.”
Second placed Stuart Lee Archer was enthused by the day’s events, commenting; “What a great day! Fantastic coffee, people everywhere you looked. Once again I’ve made friends, become better at what I do and had a brilliant time doing it. I can’t wait for the next one…hopefully the Semi Finals. Fingers crossed!”
Kenneth Cooper, SCAE UK Co-ordinator said; “I would like to congratulate all the competitors on their performances at the heat. Once again we have seen a hugely successful UKBC heat which could not have happened without the support of all our sponsors, not to mention the huge amount of work put in by our host, Pumphrey’s Coffee. I would like to thank everybody who took part in these heats and look forward to the Midlands heat which will be hosted by Mad About Coffee in Norwich on Saturday 3rd March, coinciding with the Norfolk Coffee Festival.”
Stuart Lee Archer at Pumphrey’s Coffee expressed their delight at being able to host the heat saying; “What an opportunity to enhance our developing barista community and a great chance to work with our customers and staff to push quality through the roof. Thank you to everyone who made the North of England UKBC heat such a success. We can’t wait to have the opportunity to host in the future and continue to develop our little part of the speciality coffee community.”
The Scottish heat, hosted by Matthew Algie, will take place on Friday 16th March at Glasgow Caledonian University, and following calls for more competitors to enter the Northern Ireland heat on Tuesday 20th March, this event has now been confirmed, however there is still room for more baristas to participate.
The current leader for the Best Newcomer to the UKBC competition is Dan Fellows. Union Hand-Roasted Coffee has introduced an Origin Trip prize which will be given to a working barista who is new to the competition and has scored the highest points after the regional heats. The winner could see themselves heading off to a producing country such as Rwanda, Brazil, Guatemala, Costa Rica or El Salvador. They will meet farmers who supply Union and see first-hand a working coffee farm and perhaps even help with a coffee harvest.
The top scoring baristas from the UKBC heats will go through to the finals, which will be held at The London Coffee Festival between 27th and 29th April 2012, and one of them will be crowned UK Barista Champion 2012 and go on to compete in the World Barista Championship in Vienna, Austria on 12th-15th June.