Accolades this month to Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood of Bath café Colonna & Smalls. Maxwell was crowned UK barista champ for 2012 last weekend at the London Coffee Festival. His win will see him compete against the world’s best in Vienna next month.
The UK has a great record at the world barista champs with two wins in the past ten years. Compare that with Australia’s one win – and nil for New Zealand – and it’s fair to say that England is looking like a great coffee nation once more.
The London Coffee Festival and barista champs were a great success this year with a number of sell-out sessions over the weekend. For those who managed to pick up a copy of The London Coffee Guide (Allegra Publications) at the festival, it makes for some interesting reading. Are Australia and New Zealand’s best coffee people now living in London rather than Down Under? Of the top thirty London coffee houses in The London Coffee Guide, at least thirteen have Antipodean roots. It would be interesting to hear from a New Zealander in the café industry who has been home recently and can contrast London with the Auckland or Wellington café scene.
Ranking systems are always somewhat controversial; personal taste, experience, expectations and other factors contribute to our own understanding of what is “good” coffee and cafes. And to be fair, there are a number of fantastic British coffee houses in London and further afield– the excellent Prufrock on Leather Lane with 2009 World Champ Gwilym Davies at the helm and Notes Music and Coffee (reviewed here) just to mention two.
That said, New Zealand coffee experts punch well above their weight in England’s capital city – at least by The London Coffee Guide’s standards.
And just to shift left slightly, it’s great to see the New Zealand Business Women’s Network have a second season of coffee-related events kicking off this month. More on that here.