SprudgeLive’s coverage of the 2015 United Kingdom Barista Championship is made possible by direct support from La Spaziale UK. All of SprudgeLive’s 2015 barista competition coverage is underwritten in partnership with Square and Urnex Brands.
We’re proud to serve as official media partners of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe–UK Chapter, who produce these extraordinary events.
We reached out to each of the 2015 UK Barista Championship competitors prior to their routines, to learn a bit more about them as competitors and coffee pros. We hope you enjoy these interviews!
Name: Jessie May Peters
Company: Gather & Gather
Number of years behind the bar: 1.5
Number of competitions: 1
This is the first I’ve competed in.
Competition Coffee: I’m using Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza, 553, situated north of Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Competition Milk: The milk is semi skimmed, from the Ivy House Farm, Somerset.
Signature Beverage: I haven’t thought of a name, but it’s a visually layered drink because of the different densities of the ingredients. Maybe the name should be around that. Density Complexity? Or, Tiers for Fears, I’ll call it that.
The signature drink has three layers to it, as a visual representation of my theme. The bottom layer is a kumquat and vanilla syrup. The pectins in the kumquat (hopefully) make the espresso float on top of it. The middle layer is the espresso. And on top of that is a dark chocolate and maple syrup sabayon. Which I could demolish a bowl of on it’s own, it’s amazing. As the flavours don’t mix, they need a good stirring to finish off the making of the drink. Once that’s done, it tastes like a cointreau and chocolate pudding.
Secret Weapons: A level headed group of people who have kept me sane in the preparation for this competition.
Playlist: “It’s still in the making! (As I write this on the train to Glasgow)
For the heats my playlist was:
Bonobo – Jets
Bonobo – Sapphire
Robert Glasper ft. Erykah Badu – Afro Blue
Routine Theme: My theme is “The Virtuous Circle of Good Coffee.” The idea is around three core elements that make good coffee happen: social, economic and environmental. And without one of those elements, the final result wouldn’t be attainable. After I’d chosen my coffee and began thinking about the routine, I came across a lot of information about the fantastic work that is going on in Brazil to change the perception of their coffee on the global market. The Brazilian Speciality Coffee Association are doing incredible things to showcase and develop the deliciously clean and straightforward coffees that are coming out of the country. The relationship between each part of the cycle allows it to keep turning; and every element of sustainable production is integral to the outcomes which we get to enjoy. Which is pretty interesting to me.
Total Practice Hours: Too many to count, but it’s taken around 9 nine months to get to here.
Coach(es): I used to work at Harris + Hoole, who hold internal competitions in the same set up as the UKBC. I came 3rd in that competition last year and was supported by H+H to compete in the Bristol heats. The coaching and support from those guys was incredible, and everyone wants to see each other do well. Dennis Tutbury was a great coach, both technically and emotionally. My biggest support however has been from Alex Read, who is a coach at H+H. He deserves several fine whiskies for the amount of coaching and hours he has given me.
Fashion: Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza 553. The grinds have made their way into my entire wardrobe.
Other Notes: Working for the competitions has made me a collaboration addict. I worked with a woodworking designer called Zain Kara-Bernou to visualise my theme. And for my signature drink, I worked with a chef called Clark Crawley who was able to bring out the best from the flavours I knew would showcase my coffee. I’ve got a saison beer collaboration coming up over the next couple of months, and I’ve got my eyes peeled for more projects. So get in touch if you have one, I’m hooked.