As we all know, the coffee ‘market’ continues to grow, and all areas of hospitality and catering need to ensure that they deliver the quality of coffee now demanded by their customers. It was fascinating, therefore, to witness last week just how seriously Lexington take coffee and ensuring the highest possible standards across the organisation.
Baristar of the Year
Last Thursday 19 March, Anita Demeter, barista at Knight Frank, was crowned Lexington’s ‘Baristar of the Year’ at their second ever Baristar Champion competition. The event was held in the atrium at 200 Aldersgate and was attended by over 70 guests.
Anita competed alongside six other Lexington finalists in the coffee competition judged by illy coffee legends Aniello Manfredonia, Gianluca Simeone and Marco Manfredonia, and David Jameson, from Union Hand-Roasted. They were supported by Mike Sunley, Lexington’s Chief Executive (pictured above with Anita), and Rob Kirby, Chef Director.
Demonstrating genuine enthusiasm
Gianluca Simeone, Operations Manager at Euro Food Brands says, “It’s the second year that Euro Food Brands – illy – have been involved in Lexington’s Baristar Competition and it has been fantastic to see the dedication from the team. We have trained with great passion and love over 70 baristas from which we chose six finalists. Each of the finalists took a very different approach to creating a signature coffee that was delicious to sip and also showcased their enthusiasm and innovation with different flavours.
“The competition demonstrates the genuine enthusiasm that Baristas feel about providing good coffee and gives all the attendees an extra reason for wanting to be a barista within Lexington. We look forward to the third competition next year.”
A huge success
Lexington’s Chief Executive, Mike Sunley, commented, “The competition has been a huge success in so many ways. Not only does it give us a chance to recocgnise our skilled baristas but last year’s winner and Lexington Coffee Champion, Valeria, has helped other baristas to hone and develop their skills which will ensure we continue to provide the best coffee. We were blown away by the entries this year and the amount of work and passion our baristas put into the competition – we had everything from a cardamom-flavoured coffee to a Coca-Cola infused foam. Coffee shops are part of the fabric of our society now and our customers expect a certain standard – it’s fabulous to see our baristas constantly pushing to be the best.”
All the finalists had to complete the four minute ‘milk jug challenge’ which saw them making a cappuccino, latte and two macchiatos from just one jug of milk in less than four minutes. They then had to make their ‘signature’ coffee from a coffee ‘shopping basket’. Anita’s signature drink, a dairy free iced coconut mocha was inspired by her love of vanilla, coffee and coconuts! Anita has won a stunning illy Francis coffee machine and limited edition Union coffee apparatus.
Second place went to Eisha from Royal Bank of Canada and third place to Miriam at Man Group.
David Jameson, Account Manager at Union Hand-Roasted Coffee says, “I was incredibly impressed with the innovation and creativity shown during the signature drink round. All the baristas looked at the coffee they were using and did something clever to accentuate the flavours of their coffee in a very harmonious and synergistic way.”
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