Veneziano’s retail operations manager Jade Jennings recently competed in her first solo coffee competition at a national level, the Danes Grand Barista Competition at the end of August, finishing a not too shabby overall third place!
The Danes competition requires each barista to serve four cappuccinos, four espressos, a filter process and as many express takeaway coffees with latte art as they can manage within 12 minutes. Jade selected the same two-bean blend (Guatemalan Rio Azul and El Salvador Suiza) for each of her courses, including the filter, because she knew most competitors would choose to use a single origin, particularly for the filter.
For the results, Jade finished third on the first day of competition in the Australian final, being presented with an Anfim domestic grinder and a trophy, with the top five going straight through to the Australasian final the next day, where she again placed third. In fact, the first, second and third positions from the Australian final on the previous day held up again in the Australasian final. For overall third place she won an Otto espresso stove-top with induction top, “I’ve had my eye on one of these for a couple of years now!”, says Jade, as well as a bronze medal.
With heaps of support from her fellow baristas Erin Sampson, Craig Simon and Pat Connolly in lead up to competition Jade was as prepared as she could have hoped for. “Erin, who has previously competed in the Danes Grand Barista competition, convinced me to enter, helped me with my timing and the styling of my table setting, not to mention watching my practice run throughs over and over again!”, explains Jade.
“Pat helped me with my speech and gave me some tips on my technique. Simo flew up to Sydney with me for the heats and the finals; he was a huge support in refining my presentation and working on my taste descriptors. Dicko (Craig Dickson) was also a great help on the day with keeping my nerves under control”, she says.
According to Jade, it was quite humbling to see so many great baristas compete on the day, “Particularly for the Australian final the next day where everyone really stepped it up.”
“It was a great experience, helping me to hone my barista skills. Through competing you realise how inefficient you can be behind machine and it teaches, or forces you to refine your skills”
Images kindly provided by Danes.