The SCAE UK Chapter held both the semi-final and final rounds of the UK Barista Championship at The London Coffee Festival on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 April 2012. The event, hosted by Allegra, saw the 20 top scoring baristas from the 6 regional heats, perform their routines in front of 4 Sensory Judges, 2 Technical Judges, 1 Head Judge, a packed spectator arena, and an international audience via the live video stream.
To evaluate all 20 competitors in one day, 2 teams of judges were in rotation. During their performance the competitor must prepare and serve 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos and 4 non-alcoholic espresso-based signature drinks. With a requirement to take at least 2 sips of each drink type placed before them, each judge consumes quite a large amount of coffee.
An emotionally charged finalists announcement revealed that 3 of the 6 finalists were newcomers to the UKBC, not having competed in this event before, and therefore the final would decide who would win the Best Newcomer prize category sponsored by Union Hand Roasted.
The six finalists were Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, James Bailey, Howard Barwick, Mark Lamberton, Dale Harris and Dan Fellows, who ran through their routine once again in front of a well-calibrated team, which included 3 World Coffee Events certified judges.
SCAE UK Organising Committee Member Glenn Watson comments “We made the right choice holding the UKBC Final at The London Coffee Festival. We were overwhelmed by the interest shown by consumers and industry professionals alike, creating great exposure for our sponsors and chosen charity, Coffee Kids. During the semi-final and finals it was standing room only. We would particularly like to thank all of the volunteers who helped make the event run smoothly, and to all baristas and their supporters for making this the best UKBC yet”.
The scores for the top 6 this year were quite tightly bunched with only 1 point separating fifth and sixth places and 3 points separating third and fourth, making it impossible to predict the result from the sidelines. The certificates for Best Espresso and Best Signature Drink were awarded to James Bailey. Best Cappuccino was awarded to Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood.
James Bailey was announced Best Newcomer and will be invited to attend a trip to a producing country with roasted coffee supplier Union Hand-Roasted.
Speaking after being crowned 2012 UK Barista Champion, Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood said “Everything we do at our coffee shop (Colonna and Smalls in Bath) is aimed to enthuse our customers about coffee. I’m now in a very privileged position and hope to continue to enthuse and engage with people and make great coffee, which I love to do. I would like to thank the previous UK Barista Champions for setting such a high standard and will do my best to uphold the tradition of driving awareness. I’m now in a very privileged position and am grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I am particularly looking forward to meeting the winners from other competing nations at the World Barista Championships. I will be working with our roaster to select a new coffee and construct a new routine over the next 6 weeks. But firstly, I am looking forward to coming back down to earth and working the bar. I’ll need to make space above the fireplace for my trophy ”.
Maxwell used two different coffee’s roasted by Cornwall based Origin Coffee Roasters. For his cappuccinos he used Lambari, a pulped-natural from Brazil, which tasted of peanut brittle and fudge. The espresso and signature drinks were made with Sacof Rolindo, a Rwandan Cup of Excellence coffee. The signature drink was prepared using ruby grapefruit with sparkling water, resulting in reduced acidity and brought out caramel and hops flavours. This was mixed with a root licorice and star anise to add more tart, sharp, fruity notes, and accentuated the weight and length of finish.
Maxwell will now represent the United Kingdom at the World Barista Championships in Vienna, Austria on 12th-15th June 2012.
photo courtesy of Glenn Watson (coffee-photography.com)