“It’s my privilege to take Starbucks knowledge and passion of this beautiful drink and share it with as many people as possible.”
AMSTERDAM– Nineteen-year-old Bartek Kusmierz from Hemel Hempstead in the UK has earned Starbucks ultimate accolade, scooping the title of Starbucks Barista Champion 2018 for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, following a gruelling competition on 5 October 2018.
The distinction comes as 28 National Barista Champions from as far as South Africa, Dubai and Turkey gathered in Amsterdam for the final stage of the Starbucks Barista Championship 2018. All sharing a passion for ethically-sourced coffee, the Starbucks baristas kicked off the competition at the Amsterdam Roasting Plant, finetuning their latte art ahead of the ‘bar skills sessions’.
The competitors had an exclusive tour of Starbucks Roasting Plant that’s not usually open to the public, which supplies Starbucks coffee to more than 3,300 stores across Europe, the Middle East and Africa – this offered the baristas a chance to watch every step of the ethically-sourced coffee roasting process, from bean to cup.
In front of a packed live audience in store, and more than 18,000 viewers online, the champions had to produce three knock-out latte art patterns – all looking to impress the judging panel with their artistry. As the day wrapped up, it was over to the judges for a series of late-night deliberations.
As the competition continued over the course of the week and the temperature dropped outside, things were certainly heating up inside the Starbucks store, The Base, as the National Champions went head-to-head in a knockout ‘Latte Art Throwdown’. Contestants had one chance to produce top draw micro-foam artistry on either a Latte, Flat White or Espresso Macchiato, and the judges could only pick one barista to proceed to the next round.
As the competition drew to a close, and after a nerve-racking final, Bartek Kusmierz took home the grand prize – complete with a golden milk steaming pitcher as a trophy and purple EMEA Barista Champion apron. As winner, he will be invited on the trip of a lifetime to visit the new Milan Roastery and to join fellow partners (employees) for an annual trip to coffee farms in Rwanda where he’ll see first-hand how coffee is grown and processed, and will meet farmers who produce some of Starbucks coffee.
As part of their role, each of the National Barista Champions will act as ambassadors to drive forward Starbucks coffee heritage to only source and serve the best quality coffee in each cup.