Academic institutions are often referred to as ivory towers, but on a recent morning at the University of Sydney the dominant shade was milk white. Participants in the annual Barista Battle were furiously steaming milk, avidly frothing cappuccinos and cautiously measuring lattes. The caffeinated action, watched by a group of bystanders, unfolded outside the hallowed environs of the Fisher Library.
Orchestrated by USU, the student union, and Vittoria Coffee, the event attracted seven talented contenders from campus cafes and restaurants. The baristas were tasked with preparing four different beverages for a panel of seasoned judges. The judging criteria included the quality of their espresso, balance and flavour, coffee art, and their overall presentation. They were also evaluated on their performance behind the machine.
"The competition stepped up again this year," said Jack Alpe, a former Vittoria Coffee College trainer and one of the three judges. "The final scores reflect how high the standard is across all the outlets at the university."
Added USU CEO Andrew Woodward, "The atmosphere as contestants battled it out was tense but also lot of fun. It' s a sought-after title, and the quality of entrants continues to surpass expectations."
Ryan Fox Food and Beverage Director at USU added "The Vittoria team truly pushed the competition to new heights with greater staff and student participation in an improved position that offered better for visibility for the brand and activation on campus. As always, the setup and activation from Tania and Erin was impeccable and impressive, the inclusion of the Affogato Bar worked amazingly in attracting good numbers to the activation."
This year's winner was Crystal Yip from Laneway Café, who received a Vittoria espresso machine valued at $2,000 for her valiant efforts. Second place went to Eva Wynette from Carslaw Café and third to Noor Mayasari of The Deck.
In our opinion, all three finalists showed great distinction. Congratulations to all the finalists.