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European coffee body seeks new UK co-ordinator

24 September 2008 by

The significance of the appointment is that in the last three years or so, during the period of Steve Penk's tenure, consumers' appreciation of espresso-based coffee and of the role of the barista has increased sharply. For for the past two years the world title has been won by London-based baristas (although one is Irish by birth).

It follows that the next person in the job has a hard act to follow in developing the progress of top-class coffee in all kinds of catering outlet, from restaurants to high-street cafés.

"I leave the UK chapter in a much stronger position, largely thanks to the support of many people who put in hard work and effort which people don't see or hear about," remarked Penk. "Because of such effort by so many people, the profile of 'speciality coffee' in the UK has never been greater, and the UK is now firmly established on the world coffee map.

"I believe that the SCAE's recent work has given the role of barista a greater credibility than before - that's why barista training schools have never been busier than they are at the moment."

The international winners are not the only great baristas in the UK, he pointed out. Because of the greater interest in the job, there is a greater than ever number of new baristas coming through, and these new stars will either win top catering jobs and drive the cause of good coffee through the hospitality trade, or will follow our recent winners in world events.

"Building on the successes of Simon Robertson of Leoni's in Yorkshire, who represented the UK against the world on several occasions, James Hoffmann took the world by storm last year, won the world title, and has continued to be a great ambassador for the UK barista movement. This year's world-title victory by Stephen Morrissey in Copenhagen is a continuation of the same theme - although he is Irish and competed for Ireland, he works beside James in London.

"Hugo Hercod, Emma Chapman, Phil Gervaux, Aysin Aydogdu all represented the UK in the various world championships in Copenhagen - Hugo confirmed that he is an elite barista coming 10th in the world, while Emma, Phil, Aysin and James Hoffmann all competed to a high standard in the Coffee in Good Spirits, Latte Art, Arabian Coffee and Cup tasting competitions. Most of them will make up the UK team at this year's European Coffee Team Challenge in Trieste in November."

There now has to be an election for a new UK co-ordinator - applications to sgp@laspaziale.co.uk before the 7th of October.

By Ian Boughton

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