Alex Chen bags the 15th Jamaica Blue 2023 Barista Championship Title

Jamaica Blue recently held its 15th Barista Competition. It marked the occasion with a happening 2-day event filled with coffee-related activities, culminating in Alex Chen from Jamaica Blue Midland Gates, winning the prestigious title of the finest barista, and Taylah Hoult from Jamaica Blue, Grand Central, bagging the second place.

An annual gathering that merges remarkable coffee expertise and contagious enthusiasm, this event united Jamaica Blue’s top baristas from Australia and New Zealand. It served as a platform for showcasing their outstanding expertise and mutual dedication to the art of coffee crafting.

The competition was judged by a panel of expert, presided by the Head Judge, Jeremy Regan and included sensory judges from Jamaica Blue’s suppliers, Beqa Dairy and Drinks & Bean Alliance. Beqa is an Australian owned company and is Jamaica Blue’s supplier for all dairy products. Bean Alliance is also an Australian owned company, and supplies Jamaica Blue’s coffee.

Head Judge: Jeremy Regan, Head of Coffee – Foodco
Sensory Judge: Ange Augello, Director and CEO – Bean Alliance
Sensory Judge: Kristina Brockwell – Bean Alliance
Sensory Judge: Hagji Gashi, Account Manager – Bega Dairy and Drinks

Here is a detailed breakdown of the events and activities, on the competition day:
The wave of excitement was in the air as the final day commenced. The competition was divided into three rounds with each testing a different area of the barista’s skill and expertise.

Technical Barista Round

The first round was designed to test a barista’s skill in all areas from technical, presentation, efficiency, and customer service. During the first round, each competitor had to make six coffees for a set of sensory judges in the timeframe of eight minutes. Competitors were handed an order slip and could make their coffees in whichever order they liked, however, the coffees had to be served in the correct order as per their order slip.

Coffee Tasting Round

This round was conducted to see how well baristas could taste espresso coffee and compare the Jamaica Blue blend to a competitive coffee. Competitors tasted three espresso-based beverages. They had to decide if the coffee they taste is the Jamaica Blue blend or not. Once the competitor was sure what they are tasting, they placed their coffee down on a place mat in the corresponding area.

Latte Art Round

The third and final round was designed to test a barista’s skill in pouring free pour latte art. In this round, the competitor had to produce three coffees to be judged by the sensory judges. Before this round begins the competitor drew two patterns out of a hat at random. The third pattern was the barista’s choice.

The contest unfolded with a level of competitiveness that exceeded all expectations and the baristas gave it their best. Following the last and the most nerve-wracking, Latte Art round, the scores were tallied, and Alex Chen was declared the winner.

With their immense passion and expertise, the baristas not only exhibited their vast coffee craftsmanship but also demonstrated their collective dedication to providing outstanding customer experiences across Jamaica Blue cafes.

Celebrating its 15th year, the Barista Championship, remains a remarkable tribute to the commitment and skill of our baristas who breathe life into Jamaica Blue’s coffee daily. Here’s to the forthcoming year and congratulations to Alex, the new Jamaica Blue’s Barista Champion for 2023.