HE turns out hundreds of cups of coffee every day.
But passengers using Huddersfield Railway Station can now enjoy the expertise of one of the country’s top baristas.
Matthew Roberts, who works at Caffè Ritazza on Platform 4, has just been crowned winner of the UK Barista Championship at the 2010 SSP UK National Barista Championships.
Held in London, the championship, created by leading travel caterer, SSP UK, recognised and celebrated the increasing coffee quality within the travel industry.
Matthew, of Leeds Road, won over the judges with his expertise and his own speciality.
He and seven other talented barista finalists had to produce four espresso, four cappuccinos and a signature drink, to industry expert standards within 15 minutes.
Each beverage was marked upon technical ability, presentation, consistency and taste balance.
Matthew’s creativity and knowledge shone through when he presented his speciality coffee, the Chilli Mocha.
He said: “Chilli and chocolate go very well together – and it’s recognised as an aphrodisiac.
“I didn’t want to alienate the judges so I did not go overboard with the chilli. There was just a hint in there to leave a warm glow after you’ve tasted the drink.
“Unfortunately at the moment I can’t offer the chilli drink to passengers at the rail station as it is now one of the Ritazza brands, but the firm have said they will look to bring it in some outlets in the near future.
“People in Huddersfield have very varied tastes, with some liking espresso and others going for latte.
“It is a skill. It’s not just making a cup of coffee, and certainly in the contest it was demanding to make sure every drink tasted exactly as it should.”
Matthew, who has worked for Ritazza for four years, now hopes to do well in the Ritazza Global Barista contest and plans to challenge other UK baristas in the British championships next year.
His prize in the contest was a weekend away of his choice and £500 spending money courtesy of event sponsor Stanco.
He said: “I’m so happy to have won the title of UK Barista Championship at the SSP awards. I am so passionate about what I do and it is a great achievement to be recognised for this. I feel a great sense of pride and am looking forward to representing Huddersfield and the UK in the Caffè Ritazza World Championships and representing SSP UK in the national UK Barista Championships 2011.”
Matthew has lived in Huddersfield since he was 11. He lives with wife Cherylyn and children Elliese, William, Ashton and Harvey.
“My family are all really supportive and were rooting for me to win. I hope I made them proud.”
Barista, an Italian word for bartender, is reserved for coffee-house employers who have acquired significant training and expertise in the preparation of coffee drinks.