Lexington has crowned Renata Palhazai as Baristar of the Year 2016, after she beat eight other competitors in the final last week.
Following an eight-week battle which saw more than 100 people put through intense training at Illy coffee and Union, nine baristas made it through to the final.
Palhazai, a barista at Thomas Miller, won Lexington's third Baristar of the Year competition, held at 200 Aldersgate in London on 10 March.
She scooped the title with her signature coffee - Chocoholics Dream Coffee - layered white chocolate under dark chocolate beneath a shot of espresso and cream to top, with chocolate sprinkles.
Palhaza said: "I set out to win and I'm so pleased to be taking home the title. The competition was such a great experience and I'm so proud to be recognised as a barista champion after only working with Lexington for six months. I feel relieved all my hard work has paid off and it will be fabulous to see my signature drink rolled out across the business."
Mike Sunley, Lexington's chief executive, said: "The competition has gone from strength to strength. We have had so many entries from the team this year and it's been fabulous to see our previous winners, Valeria Di Gianfilippo, deputy general manager at Rothschild and Anita Demeter, general assistant at Knight Frank, invest their own time to coach entrants."
The nine finalists were judged on their ability and skills in completing the four minute 'milk jug challenge' which saw them make a cappuccino, latte and two macchiatos from just one jug of milk in less than four minutes. They then had to make their signature coffee and present it to the judges Gianluca Simeone from Euro Food Brands (Illy coffee), David Jameson, from Union Hand-Roasted, Mike Sunley, Lexington's chief executive, Rob Kirby, chef director, and Anita Demeter, last year's winner.
The nine finalists:
- Renata Palhazai, Barista at Thomas Miller (Winner - first place)
- Ilaria Mancosu, Café Assistant at Knight Frank (Second Place)
- Gianfranco Guastella, Barista at Café 200 (Third Place)
- Artur Kukuryk, Café Assistant at Rothschild
- Attila Jakubei, London Business School
- Mhend Djellali, Lexington Support Team, Hospitality and Café Assistant
- Monika Balazs, Food Service Assistant at Man Group
- Natalia Bukowska, Barista at London Business School
- Otilia Baciu, Barista at Omnicom