Gail’s awards top barista in Coffee Olympics

Gail’s Bakery has awarded Marianna Hives from its Crouch End outlet the Coffee Master 2012 barista title, as part of its Coffee Olympics.

The London artisan bakery chain, which has just recently opened its 11th outlet in Chelsea, held its annual coffee competition at its Notting Hill branch on Monday (25 June). Gail’s employees competed against one another for the top barista title, judged by a team from coffee bean supplier Union Hand-Roasted and Tom Molnar, co-owner of Gail’s.

Molnar told British Baker: "We want to create an environment for our employees where they want to train and offer that opportunity to work on and upgrade their skills. Our focus is usually on our bread, so this was a chance to celebrate our coffee offering."

Hives went up against four other head baristas from Gail’s and was required to make one espresso and one signature espresso-based drink. Her winning creation was a glass glazed with chocolate then frozen, filled with mint syrup and espresso.

Gail’s Coffee Olympics also included a team category, which saw two members from the business’ 11 bakery and coffee shop outlets go head-to-head. The competitors, who must be trained at a Union Hand-Roasted Level 2 standard, had to make two single espressos, two single cappuccinos and one flat white coffee in seven minutes.

Three teams were then chosen to take part in a final competition and make a further selection of coffees, which were adjudicated by the judging panel and two additional technical experts.

First place went to Gail’s Soho team, with the Exmouth Market brand placing second and Crouch End coming in third.

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