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Emma Zeng bags the 15th Muffin Break Barista Championship Title

Muffin Break recently concluded its 15th Barista Competition, hosting a vibrant two-day event packed with various coffee-themed activities. The event culminated in Emma Zeng from Muffin Break, Eastland securing the esteemed title of the finest barista, while Steve Cheng from Muffin Break, Maddington, earned the second-place position.

This annual gathering served as a union of Muffin Break’s top baristas from Australia and New Zealand, showcasing their exceptional coffee expertise and shared enthusiasm for the art of crafting coffee. It provided a platform for these talented individuals to display their remarkable skills and mutual dedication to the craft.

The competition was assessed by a panel of experts led by Head Judge Jeremy Regan. Both Beqa Dairy, an Australian-owned company supplying dairy products to Muffin Break, and Bean Alliance, also Australian-owned, supplying coffee to Muffin Break, were part of the sensory judging panel.

Head Judge: Jeremy Regan, Head of Coffee – Foodco

Sensory Judge: Ange Augello, Director and CEO – Bean Alliance

Sensory Judge: Kristina Brockwell – Bean Alliance

Sensory Judge: Hagji Gashi, Account Manager – Beqa Dairy and Drinks

The competition day buzzed with excitement as the competition unfolded in three rounds, each designed to test different aspects of the barista’s skills.

Technical Barista Round

This round evaluated a barista’s prowess in technical skills, presentation, efficiency, and customer service. Competitors were tasked with preparing six coffees for a panel of sensory judges within an eight-minute timeframe. They were given an order slip and had the freedom to make the coffees in any sequence they preferred, ensuring they were served in the correct order as specified on the slip.

Coffee Tasting Round

Baristas were tested on their ability to discern espresso coffee flavors by comparing the Jamaica Blue blend with a competitive coffee. They sampled three espresso-based beverages and determined whether each coffee was the Jamaica Blue blend or an alternative. Competitors then placed their identified coffee on a corresponding place mat.

Latte Art Round

The final round assessed a barista’s skill in creating free pour latte art. Competitors had to produce three coffees for judgment by sensory judges, selecting two patterns at random from a hat before showcasing their own chosen pattern for the third coffee.

The competition was intense, with baristas showcasing exceptional skill and dedication throughout. Following the nerve-wracking Latte Art round, the scores were calculated, and Emma Zeng, emerged as the deserving winner.

Beyond exhibiting their extensive coffee craftsmanship, these baristas demonstrated their collective commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences across Muffin Break cafes. As the 15th-year celebration of the Barista Championship ended, it stood as a testament to the dedication and expertise of the baristas who breathe life into Muffin Break’s coffee offerings every day. Congratulations to Emma, the newly crowned Muffin Break’s Barista Champion for 2023, and here’s to another successful year ahead.

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