Caffè Ritazza World Barista Champion is crowned

SSP News Release 29-September-2010

The Caffè Ritazza World Barista Championship has reached its exciting climax in Rome and Jurate Skarzauskaite from the UK was the victor in this prestigious international competition. Eight finalists from all over the world took part in the competition, and wowed judges with their skill at coffee making and their enthusiasm for the art of coffee.

During a testing day, they were given a range of tasks to complete beneath the watchful eye of a panel expert judges. They were required to make four espressos, four cappuccinos and finally to use their flair and imagination to create their own signature drink.

A number of the competitors drew on the culinary heritage of their home countries for inspiration in this round. Dimitris Aggelis from Greece flavoured his drink with Mastiha, a sap from Lentisk trees, (an evergreen shrub found only in certain areas of the Greek island of Chios). Similarly Li Ka Man from Hong Kong incorporated the some of the teas for which his country is renowned in his recipe.

Winner Jurate, a barista from East Midlands Airport, recreated the atmosphere of a sun-kissed beach when she served her chilled signature drink. Named Tropical Paradise, the drink was flavoured with espresso coffee, coconut and bananas, and was presented in coconuts on a ‘beach’ of flowers and sea-shells.

Jurate said it was her love of the summer time and travelling that inspired her recipe; ‘I love being on the beach, and I wanted to create a drink that could be enjoyed on a hot summer day.’

Her drink clinched the title for Jurate, but as event organiser and judge Stuart Coombes explains, Jurate put in a convincing performance throughout the competition. ‘Jurate’s passion for coffee really showed through. She’d really thought about her performance, and it was clear she had a lot of fun.’   

Coombes is keen to encourage her, and others to compete in other Barista championships. ‘This competition is judged to the standards of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe  (SCAE). This means that it has allowed our baristas to benchmark their performance against the finest baristas in the world, and provided a great platform for them to enter other championships when they return home.’  

The competition was adjudicated by four sensory judges and two technical judges, who scored them on how they prepared to make the coffee, their technical expertise in areas such as grinding, dosing, tamping and extracting the coffee along with following a clear process of foaming the milk.  This all had to be completed within a specified time limit.

Each coffee was tasted and rated on a number of quality criteria, such as the colour and consistency of the crema on the espresso along with taste balance of the espresso, the correct consistency, quality and temperature of the milk in the cappuccinos, and the elegance and uniformity of the presentation of the four cappuccinos.

The competition judges were all leading authorities from the world of coffee. Judging alongside Stuart Coombes, a former barista competitor himself, was Richard Barclay SSP’s Senior Vice President International Brands who was instrumental in the highly successful launch of SSP’s Caffè Ritazza brand. They were joined by Paul Meikle Janney who is the head judge of two of the leading SCAE competitions, and Marc-Pierre Dietrich, a leading SACE judge and accredited trainer of other SCAE judges.

Meike Janney was enthusiastic about the standard of the competition. ‘The skills of all the competitors have really been developed as the competition has progressed, and their genuine enthusiasm was evident. Organising a competition of this scale and scope involving competitors from all over the world is a clear demonstration of Caffè Ritazza’s commitment to fostering the skill of the professional barista.’ 

Jurate received her very own professional coffee machine, but according to Coombes the experience gained at the competition will be equally important to all the competitors. ‘All those taking part thoroughly enjoyed working with their colleagues across the business and sharing their knowledge and their pleasure in making fantastic coffee. The atmosphere here in Rome was great, and it has undoubtedly been an experience that has not only been beneficial to their skill as a barista, but also hugely enjoyable.’

At the end of the competition, finalists could opt to take part in a latte art competition, in which they could show off their skills and make the perfect Flat White. Participants made six Flat White’s, choosing their favourite latte art to be photographed and put forward to be judged. Li Ka Man from Hong Kong and Zlatan Zilic from Denmark shared first prize in this leg of completion. The Flat White will be making its debut in Caffè Ritazza outlets on 1st October.


The competitors were:



Jurate Skarzauskaite representing UK Air

Samer Hassan representing Sweden

Dimitris Aggelis representing Greece

Li Ka Man representing Hong Kong

Zlatan Zilic representing Denmark

Thomas Pettersson representing Norway

Matthew Roberts representing UK Rail

Jean Philippe Mottaz representing France

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