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Cheltenham Barista Wins Title ‘Best In The West’

Next stop: the Champion of Champions Final in London on 21 October crack

Joel Collacott, 22, from Cheltenham has won the South West regional heat of a prestigious coffee contest and is now set to compete against baristas from around the world in the grand final later this month.

Joel Collacott, 22, who works at the Costa store in Cheltenham as well as teaching trampolining in Gloucester three nights a week, will compete for the title of Barista of the Year 2010 at Costa’s Roastery in London on Thursday 21 October.

Costa’s Barista of the Year is an annual, global competition to find that one, extra special barista who will be crowned Champion of Champions and win a holiday for two to a country with a coffee connection.

The judges are looking for a barista who can deliver an unbeatable coffee experience, based not only on their coffee making ability, but also their knowledge, passion and customer service.

Joel earned his place in the grand final by beating six other Costa baristas from across the South West at the regional final in Newbury in September.

As well as performing a ‘grind and dose check’ and making two of the four core Costa drinks (cappuccino, latte, espresso and flat white) to brand standard, Joel also impressed the judges with his own coffee drink creation, a Thai lemon chocaltl.

Customers can show their support for Joel and try his chilli chocolate creation at a special showcase event in the Costa store at 24 The Promenade from 7.30pm to 9.00pm on Tuesday 19 October. People will be asked to make a donation to the Costa Foundation, which was set up to improve the welfare of coffee-growing communities in countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, Uganda, Ethiopia and Costa Rica.

Joel said: “I am extremely excited to reach the final in London. It is both a surprise and a privilege that I’ve been able to reach this point in the competition.

“The regional final was a really fun day. The level of competition was tough but I have always said the best way to get better and to test your skills is to compete against the best!

“My speciality drink was a big hit with the judges. It is a form of espresso macchiato with a Thai twist. It has a dark chocolate and chilli base, mixed with a single shot of espresso. To top off the Thai theme, I use a froth made from milk infused with lemongrass. The inspiration for the name comes from the original Aztec name for coffee and chocolate – ‘chocolatl’.

“I would love to win this competition. The prestige of being named international barista of the year would be an honour that I could hold on to forever. By winning I could really set an example for the team members at my store to show what we are all capable of if you set your mind to it, and it would be a great ‘thank you’ to all the people who have supported me along the way.”

About Barista of the Year:
The Costa Barista of the Year competition first launched in the UK in 2006. Since 2007 it has operated on a global scale where contestants from all 24 markets we operate in can compete for the title of ‘Champion of Champions’.

The competition is open to all baristas in all parts of the Costa business, including UK and international equity and franchise. Any barista, including store managers, can enter.

Area Heats:
Candidates had nine minutes to make four drinks to brand standard: cappuccino, latte, espresso and any other hot drink for our menu board as requested by the judge. The barista then had to tell the judges whey they want to win Barista of the Year.

Regional Finals:
The baristas had to complete:
· a grind and dose check (making sure the coffee machines are set up properly to produce the best flavour coffee
· deliver two each of the four following core drinks to brand standard: cappuccino, latte, espresso and flat white (new for this year)
· their very own speciality drink they have invented along with a presentation on it.

The Champion of Champions Finals:
These will be held at Costa’s Roastery in Lambeth in London on 21 October. Finalists will be tested on their core drinks, the two minute espresso challenge and their speciality drinks. The winner will win a one week holiday for two, plus spending money, to a country with a Costa or coffee connection, such as Italy or Costa Rica.

About Costa:
Costa was founded by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa in 1971.
Costa’s in-store baristas are all coached in the art of coffee making at the company’s unique Costa Coffee Academy based at its own roastery in Lambeth, London.
Costa Coffee was the first UK coffee shop chain to commit sourcing Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee.
Costa set up a registered charity (no.327489) in 2006 called ‘The Costa Foundation’ to help the communities within the countries from which Costa sources its coffee beans. The Costa Foundation has now built and runs 12 schools, with more planned.

Did you know?
The latte has overtaken the cappuccino as Costa’s best selling coffee. We sell 148 a minute in the UK.
Every cup of Costa coffee poured, over 101 million a year in the UK, is handmade.
Costa has over 6,000 UK staff working in stores and head office.
Costa has high brand standards to deliver a perfect cup of coffee every time. This competition is a search to find the cream of the crop.