Fine Food New Zealand, 24-26 June 2018, ASB Showgrounds, Auckland



Muffin Break and Jamaica Blue Cafés lift the bar with national barista competition

Muffin Break and Jamaica Blue baristas nationwide have pitted their skills against their peers in the brands’ national coffee competition.

Giving local baristas the chance to showcase their skills nationwide, it’s the brands’ first national barista competition in more than five years.

Muffin Break and Jamaica Blue national operations manager Jon Hassall says the competition shows the brands’ commitment to quality. “We offer ongoing support to our franchisees in development and training and we see this competition as a way to recognise success.”

Hassall says Muffin Break and Jamaica Blue customers know they get great coffee in the brands’ stores and cafes, all served in a relaxed and friendly environment, where quality is paramount.

In association with Goodman Fielder, competition judges have toured the country for the past two months assessing coffees. The brands’ baristas have made three cups each of the following four variations – long blacks, cappuccinos, piccolos and flat whites – in their efforts to impress.

In true competition style, contestants have had time pressures to contend with, with only 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to make their coffees.

Judges marked entries on their preparation, the baristas’ technical skills, a sensory evaluation and beverage presentation.

Four finalists have been selected; one from Dunedin and one from Porirua – both Muffin Break bakery cafés – and the other two from Auckland Airport and Auckland Hospital Jamaica Blue sites.

They will travel to the finals held at the Vodafone Events Centre, Manukau, where on March 14 they will each have 15 minutes to make the same selection of coffees for the finals judges, which include World Barista Championship Judge, assessor and Altura Coffee master roaster, Chris White.

Competing baristas must have already completed, or be in the process of completing, the national barista accreditation programme, which involves more than 300 hours working on coffee-making skills, as well as a final exam.

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