Catering provider SSP has named Kate Crozier from Belfast International Airport as UK Barista Champion.
Kate, who works at the airport’s Caffè Ritazza, beat competition from over a hundred of the country’s top baristas to win the prize.
Simon Honan from Dublin Airport took second prize and Ruta Joneckyte from Manchester Airport came third.
SSP’s leading baristas from 700 cafes, restaurants and bars operated by SSP across the UK including Caffè Ritazza, Starbucks and Upper Crust, were selected to take part in the contest.
Some 45 made it to the semi-finals and, after months of competition, eight competed in a closely contested final at the Dickens Inn, London.
The judges included Stuart Coombes, International Operations Director of Caffè Ritazza, Bob Di Guiseppe, Director of Operational Excellence at SSP and Tiina Geraci, Training Manager at Italian coffee company Lavazza. Kate said: “Last year I finished third in both the SSP UK Barista Championship, and the Caffè Ritazza World Championship, and I was determined to go all the way this time.
“Everyone at the airport, including people from security, baggage handling staff and BIA employees and directors as well as my colleagues at SSP, has been so supportive.
“I hope that our customers will also benefit from my win, and my awards for best espresso and best cappuccino, which are drinks I make for visitors to the airport every day.”
Brian Carlin, Belfast International Director of Commercial Development, said: “All of the baristas at the airport provide great coffee and exemplary service, and now we have the award to prove it.”
Stuart Coombes, one of the judges, added: “Each of the finalists really produced an outstanding level of performance from the consistent delivery of espressos, to the perfect milk foam for cappuccinos along with an array of great tasting signature drinks, all capped with a number of memorable performances. This event was full of quality and demonstrated the high level of barista talent in the business.”
The event was sponsored by Lavazza, and Stanco Services, a company specialising in the repair, service and maintenance of coffee machines and vending equipment.