Barista Competition Serves Up Trans-Tasman Rivalry

( Thirty-six of the country’s top baristas are set to put their best cappuccino forward as they compete to be crowned winner in a Muffin Break Barista competition.

The annual trans-Tasman competition sees Muffin Break baristas from New Zealand and Australia compete in regional competitions, before the finalists go head-to-head in a grand final held in Australia in April.

The competition is aimed at recognising quality and excellence in coffee preparation and service and rewarding the best Muffin Break baristas on both sides of the Tasman.

Muffin Break General Manager Garry Croft says winning this competition is an early indicator of future success for the competing baristas. Many former champions have gone on to win the New Zealand Barista Championship and place highly in the World Barista Championship representing their country.

On competition day, entrants will each have 6 minutes to prepare an espresso, cappuccino, latte and a signature coffee, all under the watchful eye of expert judges.

But competitors will be judged on more than just how their finished coffee looks and tastes. The judging criterion also includes preparation of their machinery and workstation, the technical skills of a barista, the sensory evaluation of coffee and their knowledge of the popular brew.

In addition, their passion for customer service will also contribute to their final score, which will be determined by the event judges, including Master Roaster and Foodco Coffee Guru, Fred Vains.

A total of 36 baristas from Muffin Break stores throughout New Zealand will compete for the chance to travel to the finals and attempt to knock the Australian baristas from their perch.

Croft says the championships give the highly-trained baristas the chance to hone their skills and showcase their talent not only to each other, but to people who are highly regarded in the coffee industry.

“Plus, it proves that we are just as passionate about serving great coffee as we are about producing mouth-watering muffins. It really is about the whole package for us and giving customers a great experience time and time again,” he says.

The Muffin Break Barista Champion will travel to the Bean Alliance in Melbourne for the final. They will also receive an iPad, a coffee machine and grinder for home as well as a $1000 Visa Gift Card. The 2012 Champion will be invited to participate in the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (all expenses paid).

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Media Release 24 February 2012