A St Andrews student was named the best Costa barista in the world on Wednesday (24 October) at the international finals in London.
Victoria Stewart, 21, beat stiff competition from some of Costa’s most accomplished baristas around the world to be named Barista of the Year at the Champion of Champions final held at Vinopolis, London. She scoops a 10-day trip for two to a country of her choice with a Costa connection.
The 10 finalists were tested on their ability to produce a technically perfect cup of hand-made coffee and their knowledge and understanding of the industry. They were also judged on their overall performance, flair and passion for coffee, and on their creativity by inventing their own signature drink.
Victoria’s impressed the judges with her creation, a White Hot Chocolate Ginger Macchiato named the Caraginger. The final-year student of Ancient History and Archaeology, who has worked at the Market Street branch for two years, said: “I still can’t believe they called my name out. I didn’t expect to win, and so was quite relaxed about it all and just had a fantastic experience – winning was an amazing bonus. I hope I can be an inspiration to others to give it a go next year.”
Head judge and Costa Master of Coffee Gennaro Pelliccia said of the winner: “Victoria did a fantastic job against some outstanding competition. She’s just what we look for in our baristas: highly skilled, creative, and hugely enthusiastic about coffee.”
Joining Gennaro on the panel was celebrity chef Sophie Michell. She added: “Judging Costa Coffee's Barista challenge was a revelation to me. The skill, dedication and hard work that went into it, from the competitors to the organisation, was truly impressive. I now know what goes into a decent cup of coffee and will appreciate it so much more. Victoria simply ticked all the boxes for us: she was personable yet professional, and her skills shone throughout.”