Christian Fernando, of Compass Group, Italy has been crowned inaugural Compass Matcha Smackdown champion 2019. He wins an exclusive tea tasting and blending session with teapigs cofounder Louise Cheadle, a teapigs gift bundle set and a £200 shopping voucher.

On 13th March, thirteen of the most skilled baristas from across Compass Group came together to pit their skills against the best of the best at the very first Compass Matcha Smackdown barista competition. The final took place at the Innovation Centre at the company’s Chertsey headquarters, delivered with partners teapigs and the Speciality Coffee Association (SCA).

Competitors included baristas from Medirest, Chartwells, 14Forty and Eurest, with the winner flying in from a Restaurant Associates site in Milan, Italy. Newly appointed Compass Coffee Education and Training Manager, Sonali Tailor headed the judging panel alongside Louise Cheadle from teapigs and Owen Thom from the SCA.

The talented competitors seized the opportunity to demonstrate their skills by producing some amazing looking (and tasting) Matcha Lattes using teapigs’ organic matcha and a milk of their choice. Matcha lattes are a firm favourite in cafes, coffee shops and restaurants everywhere and the competition was incredibly high. The judges were looking for a smoothly blended latte with great foam, technical ability, presentation skills and, of course, taste.

Louise Cheadle, co-founder and tea taster at teapigs declared “These expert baristas showed teapigs Matcha at its finest! The Matcha was expertly blended, tasted delicious and presented beautifully.” Steve Lovegrove, Head of Business Excellence – Central Marketing, Compass UK & Ireland said of the event: “It was brilliant to see first-hand the amazingly talented baristas that we have across our business. Huge congratulations to Cristian Fernando of Compass Group, Italy for winning the inaugural competition. My sincere thanks go to every single barista who kept us highly entertained by showcasing their enviable skills, so much so, that we’re already planning our next event!”

Head judge and Coffee Education and Training Manager – Central Marketing at Compass, Sonali Tailor added “Cristian was very professional and worked in a very efficient manner throughout all the different rounds. His latte art was extremely consistent and an extra plus was it tasted very good too! A very well deserved winner.”

Agnieszka Wojciechowska of Restaurant Associates, came a close second and took home the runner-up prize of £100 worth of shopping vouchers and a teapigs gift bundle set.

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