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Baristas battle it out

30 Aug 2011

By Yasemin Pelevan

Baristas from around Australia flew to Docklands last month to compete for Wild Bean’s “Best Barista” crown.

Wild Bean serves more than 18,000 cups of coffee each day at its BP Connect Stores. Its competition, which has been held annually since 2005, recognises its best coffee creators.

One of this year’s finalists included Victoria’s own, Hayden Foyle from Clarendon BP in South Melbourne. There was a lot of pressure coming into the competition for Hayden who was the only Victorian to get through to the nationals.

“I am passionate about coffee,” Hayden said.

The competition, held at Etihad Stadium, was a celebration of great baristas and Australia’s love of a good cuppa.

“People need to know it’s not that easy to make a quality coffee, there is a lot of work that goes behind it,” Hayden said.

But surprisingly, as one of Australia’s best baristas, Hayden is not a coffee drinker himself.

“I don’t drink coffee, I just don’t like it,” he said,  “But it’s fun to make”.

The contestants were judged on four key criteria: house keeping, cleanliness, knowledge and the coffee beverage.

Judge Mark Powell said the smell and the look, as well as the process and structure of making a coffee were important elements of a quality coffee.

“The competition is more about the process of coffee making,” said Mark.

“The competition has a huge cultural aspect within the BP community. It’s an opportunity for the baristas to promote themselves and a platform for them to want to be better baristas.”

This year’s winner Yani Van Der Wegen, from Sunshine Coast, has not only be titled “Best Barista” but also received a $7000 trip to New York and $1000 spending money.

The competition has three levels: store based, regional and national. If successful in the regional division the best 12 baristas compete at the national level.

Wild Bean Café is part of BP Connect stores.

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