Bristol’s Karolina Kaczmarek is on her way to the finals of the Aramark Barista Championship later this year following her excellent performance at the Western Regional Heats on Tuesday in which she demonstrated a high level of innovation, skill, and incredible attention to detail in creating a truly unique coffee.
Karolina, who is the Team Leader at the Bristol Aerospace Centre, is a trained a trained barista and has excelled within the catering and hospitality industry to date. Her expertise has secured her a place in the prestigious Aramark Brew School, which celebrates baristas who demonstrate exceptional expertise and skill in creating the perfect beverage.
At the heats, each barista was tasked with making 4 espressos, 4 milk-based drinks and 4 signature drinks. Karolina’s winning signature drink, called “Good Morning Sunshine”, was an innovative interpretation of breakfast cereal in coffee form: “I thought it would be great to combine the flavours of many people’s favourite breakfast using the sweet milk that is left behind in your cereal bowl,” she said, “so I infused the milk using honey, toasted hazelnuts, peanut butter and malt to create the rich flavour.”
Second place winner, Charlie Hall of Brecon Beacons Tearooms in Wales, wowed judges with his creation called “Daioni Cymraeg” or “Welsh Goodness”. Served alongside a traditional Welsh cake called Picau Ar Y Maen, Charlie’s coffee used homemade a syrup featuring boiled currants, sultanas, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and sugar, which are many of the ingredients also used in the cake. Served atop a Welsh flag and alongside a daffodil, it was a patriotic homage to Charlie’s home country.
The creations were judged by a panel of experts accredited by the Speciality Coffee Association (SCA), who marked each barista’s coffee creations on their level of skill, appearance and taste, as well as the barista’s serving skills.
Karolina and Charlie will now represent the Western Region of the UK at the National Finals in London later this year. Karolina said “The level of quality at these finals was immense – all of the coffees served on the day were really outstanding. The standards required of the SCA-accredited judges is extraordinarily high, so I’m delighted and humbled that I was chosen as the overall winner of Western Regional Heats. Next stop is the final – fingers crossed!”
Kate Holder, Director of Operations at Aramark, said “We’re very proud of our Brew School graduates, who brought a seriously impressive, innovative range of signature coffees to this regional final. The skills on show were of exceptional quality, which is testament to the training and support that Aramark provides its baristas – each participant produced some genuinely unique signature coffees, with all evoking memories of people, places or experiences. We’re now looking forward to the gran final, which is promising to be quite the showcase of talent.”