How this Lismore barista took out international title
A LISMORE barista was crowned best in the world after wowing judges with his ginger, cucumber and lime espresso at a competition on the Gold Coast.
Justin Porrett, an employee at Gloria Jean's Coffee at Lismore Square, presented his unusual signature drink at the International Retail Food Group Barista Championship held on Tuesday.
If the refreshing flavour wasn't enough to win it, he scored an impressive 75 out of 77 for technique.
"It was trial and error (perfecting the espresso)," he said.
"It's sweet, with a little bit of a kick at the end.
"There was a lot of wasted veggies spent perfecting it."
Technical judge Peita Laws said he was "technically flawless", and his "perfection in his technical skills shone through in the cup, as did his true passion or coffee and coffee service".
Mr Porrett said he spent several weeks leading up to the championships getting the balance right.
He will be making the signature espresso for Gloria Jean's customers to sample next week.
He has been an employee there for seven years.
"I never made coffee before I started here," he said. "Gloria Jeans has in-house training."
Mr Porrett believes the key to being the best barista was good customer service.
"Coffee is all about the connection you have with people," he explained.
"Anyone can work behind the machine, it's connecting with the customer that makes it better."
The RFG Barista Championship invites baristas from Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Asia to present their best single espresso, latte, and espresso-based signature drink.
They were judged on their taste, technique and presentation.
Mr Porrett's prize for winning the international competition on Tuesday was $3000, and for winning the national final the day before was another $3000.
Gloria Jean's Lismore is also celebrating another employee, Jacob Klaus, winning third place at the championships.