The UK's top 20 baristas are heading for a semi-final showdown at Hotelympia, after the final heat of the championships saw three finalists go through from London and the South East.
The top positions in the heat went to:
1st) Neil Le Bihan, Exchange Coffee, Lewisham Market
2nd) James Phillips, Dose, Smithfield Market
3rd) Dale Harris, First Choice Coffee
Le Bihan, who has already won this year's UK Latte Art Championships, produced a single estate espresso, a washed Arabica from El Guabo in Peru, which he used along with lemon grass-infused palm sugar syrup and Peruvian dark chocolate, for his signature drink.
Phillips' espresso was a blend of 80% Colombian Progreso Huila and 20% Ethiopian Gerbicho Rogicha. This was used in his signature drink with grapefruit syrup and an infusion of juniper berries. All the ingredients were shaken over ice and served in a martini glass.
Meanwhile Harris' effort was also a single estate coffee. For his signature drink this was added to with Peruvian chocolate, cream and Braeburn apples.
The top 20 baristas in the country, according to the competition are:
1. Neil Le Bihan, Exchange Coffee
2. James Phillips, Dose Espresso
3. Dale Harris, First Choice
4. Will Corby Black, Mountains Coffee
5. John Gordon, Gorilla Tampers
6. Jonathan Sharp, Kilimanjaro Coffee
7. Estelle Bright, Kaffeine
8. Jose Melim, Jika Jika Ltd
9. Scott Griffiths, Monmouth Coffee
10. Megan Barker, Artisan Roast
11. Trevor Hyam, The Plan Café
12. Carl Fleischer, Opposite
13. Nancy Scott, Coffee #1
14. Gordon Howell, Café Harlequin
15. Lynsey Harley, Drury
16. Steve Dyson, Cafe2U
17. Gary Whiteley, Blakeley's Coffee House
18. Liina Nutman, Coffee #1
19. Simone Guerini,-Rocco Peros
20. David Jones, Nathan Outlaw Seafood & Grill
The semi finals will take place at Hotelympia, Excel London, on 28 February. The final takes place on Monday 1 March, also at Hotelympia.
By Neil Gerrard
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