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Blossom Chukwujekwu, Thin Tall Tony, Isilomo to judge maiden barista competition in Nigeria

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Celebrated dancer, actor, choreographer and former Housemate, Big Brother Naija 2017, Offiong Edet Anthony, popularly known as Thin Tall Tony, award-winning Nollywood actor, Blossom Chukwujekwu; actor, filmmaker and writer, Peter Boyo and former Housemate, Big Brother Naija 2019, Isilomo Braimoh are among the panel of judges for the maiden Nigerian barista competition.

The event, which will hold this Saturday at Vintage Cafe, on Adzope Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja, is a coffee competition that focuses on promoting excellence in coffee, advancing the barista —a person who serves in a coffee bar — profession.

The CEO, Vintage Cafe, Sofia O. Gambino, who is the brain behind the competition in Nigeria, said the aim is to “put our youths on the map so they can compete in world coffee events. I want to encourage more youth or anyone interested or curious to learn and explore to become a barista or try your hand. 

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“We want to grow the coffee culture and bring the coffee industry back to life, encourage farmers to grow, teach roasting, maybe, encourage youths to build espresso machines, the possibilities are endless.  This competition will plant a seed to so much more.”

She explained that the competition is mostly derived by the sensory evaluation of specialty coffee through the form of espresso.

“For those who aren’t familiar with Barista competition, the overarching concept is to present a specialty coffee to a panel of four sensory judges. The barista is given 15 minutes to do so, and in that allotted time, they must serve an espresso course, a milk course and a signature beverage, to each of the sensory judges – meaning 12 drinks total. In doing so, it’s required to share insight into this coffee and scoring is mostly based on the flavours presented by the barista and the correlation each judge finds with the beverage served. While doing this, two technical judges follow your every move and take note of any inconsistent movements, workflow or errors you might make during the preparation of each round of beverages. Above the two technical judges and the four sensory judges, you have a head judge, who oversees the six other judges. These judges are all silent; they allow you full control of the stage, the pace, the coffee, the atmosphere and the service.”

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The premise of Barista competition, Gambino added, is to portray your mastery as a barista and to showcase a coffee that defies the boundaries of coffee and is superior to the rest.

She urged barista’s to use the platform of competition to grow and push themselves, adding, “it’ll force you to look outside of your day-to-day roles and to engage with other members of coffee’s value chain. You’ll find yourself starting to understand all aspects and curiosity will strike. To me it’s a platform that will grow a barista into a coffee professional. If this is an industry you’re keen to grow within, I think it’s a critical step in progression, personally and professionally.”

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