University Catering Organization Hosts On-Campus Barista Competition

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How cool is this? The University Caterers Organisation—or, TUCO—in the UK holds its own barista competiton to keep baristas in university coffee jobs excited—that’s so awesome!

The second annual Barista Skills Challenge found competitors preparing four espressos, four cappuccinos, and four signature drinks for judges—sound familiar? Sure, it’s the same sort of format as the World Barista Championship, but personally, I’m always excited to see barista contests priduced by new people with different goals—I think there’s room for a million barista competitions out there. As long as they’re keeping baristas educated and stimulated, they’re great additions to our industry.

“Our role at TUCO is to support university caterers and baristas with learning and development, and this year’s Barista Competition has showcased fantastic talent, commitment, and inventiveness to rival any high street coffee shop,” said TUCO Chair Julie Barker in a statement. “After the success of last year’s Barista Competition, the bar was raised even higher and the level of technical skill, creativity and knowledge of coffee ingredients we saw from each competitor showed the incredible talent we have here in the UK.  I was delighted to see students from so many different universities all demonstrating their passion for coffee and further nurturing their Barista skills.”

Bill Francis, middle, won the TUCO Barista Competition. Here he is pictured with with Matt White and Stephen Lambert of TUCO.

Bill Francis, middle, won the TUCO Barista Skills Competition. Here he is pictured with with Matt White and Stephen Lambert of TUCO.

Bill Frances, from The University of Bristol, won top honors at the 2014 TUCO Barista Skills Challenge, sponsored by 3663 and Santa Maria Foodservice, held at the Blackpool Hilton Hotel. Bill was up against 26 competitors from universities across the UK.

“Baristas aren’t always viewed in the same way that chefs or other hospitality staff are, but creating great coffee is both an art and a science,” Bill said in a statement. “On top of which we are customer services representatives—it can be a very demanding role. And it’s one I love, because I get to be really creative as well; the increase in trends such as flavoured and iced coffees has really made the role of a barista very different from just a few years ago. So it’s great that organisations like TUCO are recognising the important role that we play in the service industry, and have created competitions like the Barista Challenge for us to showcase our talent and the wider industry developments.”

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.