5 reasons to enter Barista Competitions | 5. Getting Creative with Coffee

The thing people often find toughest about competition is coming up with a signature drink. It’s challenging but really pushes you to expand your knowledge of what can be done with coffee.

Many of the best sig drinks are based on cocktails and mixology or the practices of fine – dining chefs. The more these fields can learn from one another the better, the coffee industry particularly lacks creativity and needs some rejuvenated efforts to create something new. Most speciality shops will only offer brewed coffee, milky coffee or at the most complex a mocha. This is boring.

We need to play around with our drinks and do something more interesting and original. It won’t detract from what makes the coffee special it will enhance it and engage customers interest.

I remember when Origin coffee roasters opened a coffee shop in Charlotte Rd in Shoreditch and advertised signature drinks on the menu. These weren’t quite to the complexity of competition drinks but got me excited enough I made an excuse to travel to London, primarily to try them out. One of the drinks I tried their was a Cascara and Juniper Tonic, I loved it that much that I’ve now experimented and made a series of my own unique Cascara drinks. If I don’t say so myself they’re pretty damn tasty. I’m also the only person making them which means I’ve gained alot of interest from other coffee folks, cafes have asked me to supply them and I’ve been featured in Standart magazine and the Scottish Independent Coffee Guide.

I should probably write a few posts about cascara drinks now that I think of it…

Now I realise I went on a little tangent there but what you should gleam from this is that I was so excited by an original coffee drink that I travelled across the UK to try it. Imagine how many more customers you can generate for your shop and how much fun you can have by trying to make your own unique drink.

The other great point about working on a sig drink is that it’s a great excuse to rope in experts from other field to help you. Bartenders at your favourite cocktail joint likely work on thing like this all the time and are a wealth of knowledge. You can share your knowledge back with them, after all bar coffee is usually terrible, improving both your skill sets and likely making you a friend with benefits (booze not sex) I hope that in the near future coffee brewing and mixology will become intermingled and we’ll all be experimenting with the vast flavour potential of coffee.

As the industry slowly heads towards monotony it will be these drinks that break the mold and make each coffee shop unique.

The other posts in this series can be found here:

5 reasons to enter Barista Competitions | 1. Networking

5 reasons to enter Barista Competitions | 2. Challenging and improving yourself

5 reasons to enter Barista Competitions | 3. Communication & Public Speaking

5 reasons to enter Barista Competitions | 4. Learning to describe Espresso




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