They might be able to deal with pressure profiling or perfecting latte art design, but how do Coffee Masters contenders measure up when we quiz them?
In this week’s Barista Face Off, testing the competitors' wit and knowledge, we pit two ambitious baristas against each other who have created sweet, fragrant Signature Drinks
Tom Booth chose to combine coffee with fruit, chocolate and vodka in his Sweet Coffee Lime Martini, while Ben Morrow combines coffee, tea, maple syrup and rose petals for his 61’ recipe.
Two baristas; five questions
Now, we see how their answers measure up in our Barista Face Off!
Tom Booth from the UK vs. Ben Morrow from Australia
1. How do you take your Coffee?
Tom Booth: As it comes! When alone I’ll usually go with an espresso and a bottle of water, or if I’m out for a social coffee I’ll go with a filter coffee or an Americano depending what’s on offer. 1
Ben Morrow: All ways. I love espresso filter and milk beverages, if it involves coffee I want it. 1
2. Whiskey or Craft Beer?
Tom: That’s a hard one, can I go with a craft beer and a whiskey chaser? 1
Ben: Whiskey... just... whiskey. 1
3. Most awkward moment in your coffee career?
Tom: Probably dropping my espressos at my 2nd UKBC attempt, trying to clean up and then going 3 mins over time. 1
Ben: Probably failing to lock a portafilter in a latte art smack down... Craig Dickson (Veneziano) was standing right next to me. It was just so embarrassing, I couldn't really see if it had locked, the machine was quite low. He just said 'Benny...' I guess it was just one of those moments! 0
4. Favourite internet pet celebrity?
I didn’t know pets could be celebrities! 0
Ben: Definitely Kabosu, the Shiba Inu. I am a sucker for Internet memes and comic sans ms. So cute, very wow. 1
5. What advice would you offer to people new to the world of speciality coffee?
Tom: Coffee is fun! Learn all you can from those around you, books and the internet but also try new things out for yourself. Play with coffee to water ratios, grind size and brewing methods with lots of different coffees and taste each one to see what you like.
I also had a tip when I started out - eat as much different food as you can and make a note of how it tastes. You can’t say a coffee has hints of apricot if you have not tasted an apricot. Sounds simple but it changed the way I looked at tasting. Above all never take yourself, or anyone else too seriously. After all, coffee is FUN! 1
Ben: Get involved. Don't be timid about being a newcomer, ask questions and be part of it. By doing that you are already at the core of why we love this industry so much. It's what drives the most discerning coffee professionals and enthusiasts, the passion for the product. 1
And it's another draw: both contenders have 4 points!