Six baristas battle it out to win the coveted Grand Barista Challenge 2016

Published in Achievement

−     The Grand Barista Challenge honed in the coffee connoisseurs of Barista Sri Lanka
−     Thuwan Suraj from Barista World Trade Centre wins Grand Barista Challenge


The Coffee-making experts from Barista Sri Lanka showed off their latte art and espresso cocktails, demonstrating skills and speed as they sought to be crowned the Grand Barista Challenge Champion 2016. In the annual challenge held for the fourth consecutive year; as coffee specialists and milk mongers gathered to sing the praise of their favourite beverage.

According to the senior team at Barista, the Grand Barista Challenge is all about baristas becoming better and better at their job. It’s about their time management, skill and supremacy over the grinding process, correct measurement, powder dozing and pressing of your espresso and overall flare.
“We are very proud of Thuwan, who has competed in this challenge for the third consecutive year and has come out as the top Barista for 2016. He will be sent for further training to India, where Lavazza has one of two plants outside of Italy with world-class, fully automated manufacturing unit covering an area of 40,000 square meters.

The judges of the competition included Milza Richado (F&B Consultant at Galle Face Hotel); Kias Borum (Café Consultant); Damith Dalawalla (Training and Development Barista); Salinda Hewapathirana (Head of Product Development and Training – Lavazza Sri Lanka) and Jerom Romesh (Business Development Manager - Delonghi); who said that there has been a tremendous improvement year on year in the competition.

The Grand Barista Challenge was started in 2012 with the intention of creating a competitive and learning experience within the Barista Group. This year the six finalists that battled it out for the final spot where Romana and Thuwan from the World Trade Centre outlet; Woody from Pinnawala; Pasan from Ella; Chathura and Praveen from the Café Mocha outlet. This year's winner Thuwan was the first barista to present his three beverages to the judges on the day of the competition in a period of fifteen minutes, of which his signature drink was a milky coffee infused with mango.

Thuwan’s newfound triumph has brought pride to his team at WTC Barista; He is excited about his to India and the opportunity to represent Barista at the Barista Championship of Sri Lanka. “Most of all, I am looking forward to going to the roastery. Not all baristas are given the opportunity to see the place where some of the Lavazza blends are is being roasted for the regions specifications.”

The six finalists were selected through an elimination process with over 60 applicants entering the challenge from across the Barista network of fifteen outlets in the Island. The applicants had to prove adept in many departments. They had to be skilled at the art of tasting coffee; brewing, in which the barista must brew a coffee using manual methods to the best of his or her ability; signature drink, in which a signature coffee-based cocktail is made; espresso blending; latte art; and handling orders, a skill was proven by making three drinks in fifteen minutes. Barista, the first coffee bistro in Sri Lanka opened in 2002 to serve Sri Lanka with the finest brew of authentic Italian coffee culture.