BOLOGNA (Italy) – Louise Olsson from Sweden triumphed in the Caffè Ritazza World Barista Champion competition held in Bologna on Wednesday. The event was held at la Spaziale headquarter in Bologna (Italy). UK and Ireland finalists Matteo Pavoni and Kate Crozier took second and third place.
During the competition, Louise Olsson was tested on her ability in preparing four espressos and four cappuccinos, alongside a signature drink inspired by the raspberry lemonade her grandmother used to make. Her win was rewarded with a £1,000 prize.
Matteo Pavoni from Caffè Ritazza, Euston Station was runner up, and Kate Crozier, who works at Belfast International Airport came third.
Miko Au from Hong Kong was the winner of the signature drink element of the competition and wins a trip to syrup maker Monin’s headquarters in Bourges, France. Christodoulous Christodoulou from Cyprus, who topped the poll in a separate latte art competition, takes home a selection of coffee making equipment.
Commenting on her win, Louise, who works at Stockholm Central Station said; ‘This is what I’ve been working for over the past three years since I started competing in the Caffè Ritazza competition, as well as the Swedish national barista championships. It’s great to have won.’
Stuart Coombes, international operations director for Caffè Ritazza said; ‘This is the fifth time we have held this competition and throughout the event’s history, we have seen a steady rise in the skills of those taking part.
Every year there is improvement in terms of the delivery of the drinks, coffee knowledge and the creativity that goes into producing the signature drinks. This is testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of our teams, as well as Caffè Ritazza’s commitment to quality training for its baristas at all stages of their careers.
But one of the great things about the competition is the camaraderie it fosters between our baristas from all parts of the world, and it’s really satisfying to see them sharing their expertise as well as their excitement about coffee.’
The head judge of the competition was Paul Meikle-Janney, who is managing director of Coffee Community, one of the longest established independent companies specialising in barista training and consulting to the café and coffee industry.
Meikle-Janney believes that barista competitions are an excellent way to encourage and reward the pursuit of greater skills and knowledge. ‘Within the competitive barista world, the emphasis has changed over the years.
A few years ago, there were great improvements in milk techniques and latte art.
More recently, we are seeing greater appreciation of the coffee itself – including the understanding of different varieties, their origins and processing techniques – as well as a greater sophistication in the creation of speciality drinks.
It’s been great to see this reflected in the Caffè Ritazza competition. The fact that Caffè Ritazza invests so much time and energy in this competition demonstrates the importance placed on the craft of the barista at the very highest levels of the business.’
The full judging panel was:
- Paul Meikle-Janney – managing director, Coffee Community
- Marc-Pierre Dietrich – managing director, DRINK ing Group (and head judge of the World Barista Championships)
- Attila Molnár – beverage innovation director, Central Europe, Monin (and former World Barista Championship finalist)
- Yoram Lishansky – SSP foodlab director
- Raphael Jeanniot – SVP, international brands, SSP
- Chris Scott – head of training, international brands, SSP
The championship provides Caffè Ritazza’s top baristas with the opportunity to benchmark their skills against those of the world’s best competitive baristas, as it is adjudicated to the standards of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe.