Who is the best barista in Leichhardt? We held a Battle of the Baristas challenge at Norton Street Festa last weekend to find out…
Co-sponsored by Grinders Coffee Training Centre and Ciao, the Battle of the Baristas was an event that brought together the most acclaimed baristas in the Leichhardt area and pitted them head-to-head to see who is the master of the beans. The competition was split into two heats: Best Coffee and Best Coffee Art.
Kicking off at 1.30pm with the Best Coffee challenge, the baristas were asked to make an espresso and a latte in order to be judged on their technique, presentation and taste. They were given a score out of 10 for technique and presentation and a score out of 20 for the taste of their coffees. Two of the expert trainers from Grinders Coffee, Leichhardt, served as our judges for the day.
The first barista to step up to the challenge was Jack from Cavallaro’s, who was soon followed by his workmate Ash. Next we had Giuseppe from Bar Sport and Jean from Locantro, both of whom were eager to strut their stuff. Our final contestant, Stefano, was unique in that he no longer worked as a barista professionally, although he claimed to maintain his ability by making coffees for his family at home.
The first challenge wrapped up around 2.15pm and we took a short break before heading into the second competition. This challenge was judged quite differently from the first; a third judge was added and the baristas would compete one-on-one, with the victors proceeding to the final round.
First up we had Jack vs. Stefano, which saw Jack progress by unanimous decision after Stefano had an unfortunate mispour. Next up was Ash vs. Giuseppe and although they both had talent, the judges all agreed that Ash came out on top.
In the controversial finals we saw both the boys from Cavallaro’s going head-to-head. Although they both created great pieces, there can be only one champion and, once again by unanimous decision, the judges decided that the title of Best Barista in Leichhardt should go to Ash Rijal. Congratulations Ash, and thanks to all who participated!
Words: Max Kobras