Colombo’s favourite coffee house chain Barista Lavazza staged its signature annual “Grand Barista Championship 2015” on the 1st of December.
The much-awaited event took place at Barista’s Gandhara outlet in Colombo 6 and was held for the third consecutive time this year.
The championship first commenced in 2013 as an internal competition to motivate staff members. However the success of the first event led to a much larger event last year. The aim of the event is to crown the ultimate “brew master” from among the Barista Lavazza staff from their outlets spread across the island. The winner receives an all-expense paid educational tour to India. Commencing at 9am this year’s championship saw six highly skilled competitors battle it out for the grand prize.
After a grueling and well-contested championship Nirodha Sankalpa emerged the champion “brew master” while the 1st runner-up was Thuwan Surajdeen. The 2nd runner-up position was clinched by Roshan Subesinghe.
This year’s competition was adjudicated by a renowned panel of judges comprising Business Development Manager of Illy Coffee Alexandra Rocci, CEO of the Colombo School of Hospitality Management Steven Bradie, Training Manager-Inflight Service Delivery at Sri Lankan Airlines Divakar Gnanakan, Business Development Manager at JAT Holdings Jerome de Silva and Operations Manager at London House of Coffee Kiyaz Borham. The eminent panel followed stringent international barista championship guidelines thereby ensuring a truly world-class competition.
Commenting on this year’s championship, Training and Development Manager of Barista Coffee Lanka (Pvt) Limited Tharanga Perera notes, “We are extremely happy with the competitive spirit with which each of the participants took part and even more so of the high level of coffee based drinks they came up with.
Competitions such as this only showcase how much young talent our country possesses and that we can take on the world if this talent is groomed in the right manner.” Darshana Sampath was the winner of GBC 2014 and was sent to India to visit a Lavazza coffee factory to experience firsthand how the coffee used at Barista outlets is made. He also participated at special coffee trainings conducted by global experts which in turn have enabled him to enhance his brewing techniques. Speaking on his achievement Sampath said, “After becoming the Barista Champion and visiting the Lavazza coffee factory in India I returned with more passion for coffee than before and continue to make great coffees.”
This year’s winner Nirodha Sankalpa also adds, “It was really exciting for me to have my friends at Barista cheer me on while I was competing. I’m now looking forward to adding more knowledge to my skills through further training.”
Coffee is the core of Barista Lavazza’s business and all aspects of serving the perfect cup of coffee to every customer are taken very seriously. Therefore a lot of time, energy and funds are invested continuously to not only ensure the best raw material but also to develop the team their skills. Championships of this nature ensure that the best of the best are trained within the company itself.
Perera also adds, “The culture at Barista Lavazza is driven by our passion for our main product which is coffee and our company prides itself on the modern style of management that we follow.”