A barista from the UAE has been crowned global champion at Costa Coffee’s Barista of the Year 2019 competition.
Brian Chibwe, who has been working for Costa Coffee in the UAE for over two years, took top spot ahead of UK barista Ruggero Barlaba, with another UAE barista, Nestor L. Allado Jr. coming third.
The final, took place at the world famous Troxy Theatre in London on Thursday, July 18, and was judged by an esteemed panel of judges including Bake Off star Selasi Gbormittah, Costa Coffee’s master of coffee Gennaro Pelliccia and Deb Caldow, global head of coffee innovation.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Chibwe was inspired by his desire to share his culture and appreciation for the local coffee growing communities to create a very special signature drink, called the Afro-Tango, which wowed the panel of experts.
Having already battled it out against hundreds of other contestants over several rounds to reach the global finals, Brian then took part in a series of challenges over two days. Challenges included an espresso race where baristas were tasked with making as many espressos as possible in under two minutes while still retaining a premium quality. The 12 finalists were also required to showcase their creativity by inventing and preparing their own ‘signature drink’ while maintaining Costa Coffee’s standard for the premium quality that goes into every handcrafted drink.
Speaking about his win, Brian said: “It has been an intense journey, but I’m absolutely overjoyed to be crowned Costa Coffee’s Barista of the Year 2019. When you enter competitions like this you realise being a barista isn’t just a job but can be a career. With competitors jetting in from as far as Asia, the talent and standards have been high, but I’m delighted the judges have chosen me as the best in the business.”