Two of Newcastle’s best baristas battled it out in the semi-finals of national coffee industry competition, the UK Barista Championships on Saturday.
Stuart Lee Archer and Dan Shannon, from North East family business Pumphrey’s Coffee, competed against more than 80 other hopefuls from around the UK to make it into the top 20 of the national competition.
Stuart Lee, whose family owns the iconic coffee business, said:
This is the fourth time I’ve entered UKBC, I’ve made it to the semis before but it’s the first time Pumphrey’s has had more than one person in the semi-finals.
“It was a brilliant opportunity to not only showcase Pumphrey’s, but also to showcase the North East and show that as a region we’re ahead of the curve.”
Stuart Lee, 31, continued:
“One thing we can both say is we’re better baristas now than we were before the competition. It’s a really good opportunity to push yourself and develop your skills.”
Pumphrey’s, which has been trading coffee for more than 250 years, has a Coffee Roasting Rooms, Showroom and Café in Blaydon and a Coffee Centre and Brewing Emporium in the Grainger Market.
Dan Shannon, shop manager of Pumphrey’s in the Grainger Market, said:
“This was the first time I’d taken part in UKBC, I thought it would be a good experience and would help to improve my service skills.
“I didn’t expect to do as well as I did in the heats, I prepared as much as I could as I didn’t want to let myself or Pumphrey’s down. It went much better than I could’ve hoped and making the top 20 completely blew my mind.”
Dan, 29, continued:
“The semi-final was a fantastic experience, it was the first time I’d competed so I was pretty nervous but I was happy with how it went.”
The 20 semi finalists competed at The London Coffee Festival at The Old Truman Brewery in London on 28th April.
Stuart Lee finished ninth in the country and Dan finished fourteenth.
The UK champion will now go on to compete in the World Barista Championship in Vienna, Austria on 12th-15th June.
Each barista had 15 minutes to impress a team of judges by serving up espressos, cappuccinos and their own signature espresso coffee.