Haskins Garden Centres is celebrating the achievement of one of its restaurant supervisors after Michaela Wilson, 28 years old from its West End centre, finished third in Costa Coffee’s Global Barista of the Year competition.
Michaela, who has been a part of the Haskins team for over nine years, progressed through local, regional, and eventually a national heat to qualify for the world final, taking place in London at the iconic St. Pancras Pullman.
The international competition final was a two-day event at the end of April, comprised of a behind-closed-doors technical coffee making challenge, with the second day open to a live audience, focusing on creativity and customer service skills.
Michaela impressed the judging panel of coffee experts with her technical prowess and uniquely curated speciality drink, ‘Autumn Walks’, a delightful pumpkin-spiced coffee drink forged from fond memories of her childhood. After a UK final featuring 20 of the top baristas nationally, three progressed to a world final of 6 international entrants. After the two-day event, Michaela was named Costa Coffee’s No.3 barista globally, in a competition featuring entries from Qatar, China, the Middle East and Europe. Michaela was the highest-ranking finalist from the United Kingdom.
Speaking about the experience, Michaela said:
“The finale was massively nerve-wracking but went really well. There will always be things that you look back on and think ‘I could have done that better’, but I am so proud of what I have achieved. The speciality drink element of the competition is one area where I don’t think I could have done anything differently.
“Overall, it was a fantastic experience to have and I can’t wait to bring my learnings and experiences from this event back to my role at Haskins’ West End centre.”
Sandy Gourlay, Senior Account Manager at Costa Coffee, added:
“Michaela wowed the judges with her technical ability in handcrafting perfect drinks whilst demonstrating exceptional skills, performed under a huge amount of added pressure from lights, cameras, and a live audience! Michaela’s speciality drink ‘Autumn Walks,’ was based around her childhood Thanksgiving celebrations, featuring a homemade family pumpkin spice mix combined with Costa Coffee’s Mocha Italia coffee. The judges commented on the balance of spice, chilled coffee and hot oat milk creating an imaginative and unique experience.”
Jason Froggatt, Group Catering Manager for Haskins, said
“As a company, Haskins aims to promote personal development and growth of its colleagues as often as possible, and we have been running in-house ‘Barista of the Year’ competitions for several years. To see one of our own stars achieve global recognition from such a large brand emphasises our commitment to enabling our team to grow within the business. We are proud to see colleagues such as Michaela acting as fantastic ambassadors for Haskins on a national and world stage.”
Haskins has five garden centres across the south of England and owns Birdworld in Farnham. The business is celebrating 140 years in the horticultural industry this year. The business is proud to have been a Costa Coffee partner business for over 14-years and is the only garden centre brand in the United Kingdom to serve Costa Coffee within its centre restaurants.