Federico De Palma crowned as Roastery Barista Champion 2022

Pour your heart into everything you do and don’t be afraid

This September, four of Starbucks most skilled baristas participated in an all-day competition at the Reserve Roastery Milano and showcased their impeccable coffee expertise.

Ivan Diana, Angelo Fandino, Valentina Origgi, and Federico De Palma

Due to their advanced barista experience, EMEA Roastery partners (employees) compete in their own separate Barista Championship.

During the competition Roastery partners have to tell captivating stories about coffee, demonstrate their precise brewing ability, present innovative signature beverages, and battle it out in a nail-biting latte art throwdown.

This year, the Milan Roastery Barista Champion accolade goes to Federico – a four-year partner from Rome. We caught up with Federico to hear all about his 2022 experience and what it means to win the prestigious title.

“To be a Roastery Barista Champion is an enormous honour…to be able to share my coffee knowledge with fellow partners makes me proud, not only as a Barista Champion but also as a partner.”

Federico’s love of coffee began at a young age.

Federico's old paper cup

“I fell in love with Starbucks at the age of 12, right after I had my first sip at a store in Barcelona (I still have the paper cup with the old logo at home!). From that moment, my love for the brand grew and I hoped that one day Starbucks would open a store in Italy.”

Years later, Federico’s dream became a reality when Starbucks entered the Italian market in 2018 with the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Milano.

“When I heard that a Roastery was going to open in Milan, I applied, went through the interview process, and I got hired. I packed my bags, said goodbye to my family and friends, and set off to fulfil my dream: to be a partner and to make a difference”.

With his curiosity and immense passion for coffee, Federico was encouraged by his managers and fellow partners to join this year’s Roastery competition. Throughout the competition, he explained that the biggest challenge was creating his signature beverage: Cherry Choco Latte.

“…it was a long and thoughtful process, but I was able to express my creativity while keeping the focus on what customers might enjoy”.

As part of the competition, baristas choose their own signature latte art design – their own individual stamp to symbolise who made each cup of coffee. Showcasing his creativity and the botanical roots behind coffee, Federico’s signature Latte Art is a tulip, because it reminds him of a small arabica coffee tree.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for me, if I had to give one piece of advice to my fellow partners: Believe in yourself and be curious about everything because curiosity is what feeds the soul".