Coffee champion misses out on best cup of coffee hat-trick

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Publican Thomas Polti has narrowly missed out on a hat-trick of wins in a national competition to find out who makes Britain's best cup of...

Publican Thomas Polti has narrowly missed out on a hat-trick of wins in a national competition to find out who makes Britain's best cup of coffee.

Thomas, from the Chequers bar and restaurant in Millbrook, Bedfordshire, was defending his title after winning the two previous Brasilia Barista of the Year contests.

But this time he was beaten by Costa Coffee's Ivan Pantovich (pictured on right with Thomas)​, a Serb who trains baristas in the House of Commons and lives in a Kent village aptly called Bean.

Thomas was confident of victory after winning the espresso race at the climax of this year's event, producing 40 perfect cups of coffee in just five minutes.

But overall Ivan edged him out in a tight battle.

"I had a great run and loved every minute of being the champion," said Thomas. "I will definitely be looking to win back the title."

Sponsored by coffee machine manufacturer Brasilia, the final of the competition was held at London's Savoy.

The baristas were judged on a series of challenges designed to test technical skills plus the look and taste of a range of drinks, as well as the passion and flair they brought to the task.

"Thomas performed superbly and managed to keep calm under the most intense pressure," commented competition organiser Louie Salvoni. "He has been a fantastic champion and was extremely gracious in defeat."

Related topics: Soft & Hot Drinks

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