TCG names winner in bars’ barista competition

TCG Barista of the YearA bartender in Portsmouth has won a competition run by managed pub and bar operator TCG to encourage creativity in coffee-based serves.

Andrei Slemco from Bar 38 in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, was named the company’s barista of the year, winning the prize of a Nespresso machine.

He developed a serve called One Night in Gunwharf which combined espresso coffee with shots of Cointreau, Kahlúa and Baileys liqueurs, topped with foam and served in a Martini glass.

The contest asked TCG’s baristas to submit a recipe, costings and photography for a new creative coffee drink. From the initial entries, team members from four sites were invited to recreate their coffees and demonstrate their coffee art by making a latte at a final judging session in London.

Judge of honour was Francisco Herrera, from Colombian coffee grower Asoapia, which supplies the TCG estate through ethical coffee company Cafeology.

The runner-up was Shanto Prosad Dash of Henry’s Café Bar on West India Quay in London Docklands for his Mojito Mint Latte. The other finalists were Aurora Hoskins and Ashley Deane from the Fatling in Hornchurch, Essex, and Niko Pigis of the Hop Poles in Hammersmith, London. All were rewarded with a bottle of champagne.

Presenting the prizes, Francisco said: “All four finalists impressed us with their skill, creativity and passion for coffee. Andrei’s winning drink was a masterly combination of flavours, flawlessly produced and presented with a real ‘wow’ factor, while Shanto’s coffee art on his latte gave him the edge in a tight contest for the runner-up spot.

“Everyone here has won our admiration and I hope they continue to produce delicious and innovative coffees back in their pubs and bars.”

TCG chief operating officer Nigel Wright added: “With the support of Cafeology, we are driving hot drink sales across our pubs and bars. We’ve invested in new equipment for many sites, barista training for staff and regular seasonal refreshes of our hot drinks offer.

“The quality of entries to this competition, and the high standards and enthusiasm demonstrated by the finalists, show the benefit of that investment and we’re delighted to name Andrei as our barista of the year and to reward the efforts of all the team members who took part.”

In addition to Francisco, the competition judges were Bryan Unkles, Cafeology managing director; Andy McClatchey, Cafeology sales director and Les Mills, chairman of coffee roasters Masteroast.

Pictured back row, left to right, are Francisco Herrera, Andrei Slemco, Nigel Wright, Les Mills, Niko Pigis, Andy McClatchey, Shanto Prosad Dash, Bryan Unkles. Front row are Aurora Hoskins and Ashley Deane.

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