DUBAI – The most skilled and passionate Costa Coffee maker in the Middle East and Asia region was announced at the Regional final of the Barista of the Year 2013 competition, which took place yesterday at the Le Royal Meridien Hotel in Dubai.
The winner of the title is Jonathan Kahano who has been working at Dammam Airport Costa Coffee store since 2011. Beating the other 11 finalists, Jonathan impressed the jury with his ‘Maple Rose’ speciality drink, and will be flying to London for the prestigious “Champion of the Champions”grand finale.
After receiving the award, Jonathan said: “I am thrilled to have won this award and it is such a great honour when considering the extraordinary skills of the other contenders. I would like to thank all the members of the jury for having recognised my ability and enthusiasm and for giving me the incredible opportunity to represent the Middle East and Asia region at the London final.
If I am here today is because Costa Coffee gave me the opportunity to transform my passion into work and transformed me into an expert Barista through rigorous and regular training”. 23 years old, Jonathan is originally from the Philippine and has been working in Saudi Arabia for Costa Coffee for 2 years now. His dream is to bring coffee lovers from all over the world together, believing that coffee is more than just drink, it’s a way of life.
The Regional final of the Barista of the Year competition is the third stage of the annual global Costa Coffee competition that recognises the passion and talent of all Costa baristas around the world. In this year’s contest, over 700 competitors have already made more than 2000 espressos in heats taking place across the globe! Just 12 baristas made it to the final for the Middle East and Asia region.
“Our Barista are experts in making exquisite coffee; they all know about tasting, grinding, tamping, extracting, frothing, pouring and, most importantly, tasting, because it takes a lot more than coffee beans to make the perfect cup of handcrafted Costa coffee”, commented Andy Marshall, Managing Director of International Franchise who attended the Middle East & Asia regional final and kept a close eye on the finalists and their barista-skills.
“The Barista of the Year competition is for them a chance to shine and show the world that they have the best knowledge, a fine palate, and passion.”
During yesterday’s competition, baristas were tested on skills such as their ability to produce a technically impeccable cup of hand-made coffee and their knowledge and understanding of the industry. They were also tasked with creating their own unique signature drink which was judged on its taste, presentation and innovation.
The second place went to Josephine Mempin, who works for the Two Four 54 Costa Coffee branch in Abu Dhabi; the third place to Hassan Mahriz, from the Wakra Costa Coffe Store in Qatar; and a ‘Specialty Drink’ award was given to Talgat Zhetpisov, who works for the Costa Keruen store in Astana, Kazakhstan, for his ‘Choco Banana’ specialty drink creation.
The Champion of the Champions Final will take place in London in October 2013. Costa’s Barista of the Year winner is awarded with a trip to a coffee growing region for two including spending money, a custom-made winner uniform to proudly wear in store and the all-important Barista of the Year Trophy.
Previous winners of the regional Barista of the Year competition have also enjoyed fantastic progression within Costa including career promotions in-store, becoming trainers for staff in new markets such as France and progressing to head office roles, for example Operations Skills and Brand Standards Manager for the Middle East & Asia region