Starbucks baristas do battle today; before the first milk is even steamed, one competitor bows out
The first cup of milk hasn’t even been steamed as yet, and one competitor has already bowed out, dwindling the field to six to duke it out for the honor of being called Starbucks barista champion for a year – and to represent Starbucks Bahamas at a Costa Rican coffee immersion experience.
Eddion Whyms has taken himself out of today’s battle for the coveted title at the Starbucks Southwest Plaza location.
With Whyms gone, the showdown will still take place between a four-year company veteran, a two-year veteran and colleagues who have been in the company for months to just over a year.
Jamal “Mally” Tucker-Fields, Stan Troy Saunders, Joshua “Josh” Knowles, Devonique “Dev” Knowles, Olando “Lando” Knowles and Jameka Stubbs will compete for the coveted title, in a scaled-back version of the competition that will showcase the semi-finals and finals, both taking place on the same day between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Tucker-Fields is seeking the title because he would love to get the opportunity to pit himself against top baristas from throughout the Caribbean and gain coffee knowledge.
His favorite beverage is a quad espresso with two honey and a little cinnamon. It’s his go-to drink because it gets him going right away, and tastes great.
Saunders said he wants to be champ because he wants to learn more about coffee, Starbucks and himself.
His favorite beverage is a shaken strawberry lemonade with very light strawberry; on special days he opts for a grande extra hot green tea latte with four pumps cinnamon dolce.
Joshua said he put himself in the battle for the title because he loves working with coffee and serving customers and believes he has a great chance to win with the skills he’s acquired in his time working at the coffee house.
His favorite beverage is the mango and strawberry blended beverage. He said while he loves coffee, he also loves the refreshing taste of mango and strawberry.
Devonique, the two-plus year veteran who says her coffee journey has been mind-opening, says the title of barista champion should be bestowed upon her because her passion for coffee goes beyond that of others. And she would love to explore many more ways of being a better “Starbuckian” and coffee master.
Her favorite beverage is the shaken matcha green tea lemonade with coconut. It’s a drink she said is not only healthy, but tastes awesome and is refreshing, with a hint of caffeine for a boost.
Lando, the four-year veteran in the competition, boldly states he’s the best and that his coffee passion and skills are second to none, and as such he should be the 2019 Starbucks barista champ.
“It’s time that the true king wears the crown,” said Lando.
His favorite beverage is a triple shot of espresso because it’s bold and intense – and gets the job done, which he said sounds like a description of himself.
Meanwhile Stubbs said she should win the title because she’s passionate about being a barista, sharing her knowledge and learning more.
Currently, she says, her favorite beverage is an iced shaken mango passion tea lemonade, owing to it being sweet and refreshing.
The winner will join an exclusive club that includes outgoing champion Shawnell Clarke, who will forever hold the distinction of being the first Bahamian female Starbucks barista champion and who won her title in another historic feat, overcoming a three-way tie. Clarke won a one-week, all-expense-paid trip to Costa Rica to visit Starbucks’ largest coffee farm at Hacienda Alsacia, which spans more than 370 city blocks and is the first coffee farm Starbucks has owned in its more than 40-year history.
In Costa Rica, Clarke again made history as the first Bahamian barista to win a title at the regional level, when she won the latte art competition.
Prior to Clarke’s win, Tariq Cartwright (2017-2018) spent one week in Puebla, Mexico, where he got to explore all things coffee – from the planting process to the production of coffee.
Joshua Rolle’s (2016-2017) experience was had in Bogota, Colombia, at the second annual Latin America and Caribbean Starbucks Barista Championships.
Steven Hepburn (2015-2016) set the pace as the first barista to claim the title. His experience included a Seattle trip where he visited the Starbucks Support Center (headquarters) and iconic Starbucks locations such as the first store in Pike Place Market and the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room.
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