The art of a perfect cup of coffee

Anthony Smith - barista at Coffee Boutique
Anthony Smith - barista at Coffee Boutique

THE secret of a great cup of coffee is time, patience and practice… So says expert Anthony Smith, who is putting his theory to the test tomorrow when he competes against 200 other contenders in the UK Barista Championships.

Anthony is a specialist in the art of coffee making, from grinding, infusion and flavouring to trendy latte art.

He started out as a hotel receptionist but when a coffee machine was installed in the bar he quickly got a taste for the barista’s role.

Anthony perfected the art with one of the big coffee chains in Ecclesall Road until customer Carol Brears persuaded him to give up his job and take over as barista at her new Coffee Boutique in Dore.

The business – which sells home accessories and clothing as well as coffee and snacks – celebrates its first anniversary next month and Anthony, of Meadowhead, is a key part of its success.

He makes hundreds of cups of coffee each week and each one is a chance to develop his skill.

Latte art is more tricky than it looks, says Anthony, who uses coffee and foam to create everything from hearts and leaves to swans and even pigs.

“The first time I entered the championship, I didn’t realise how much you needed to know. It’s frustrating because it’s really easy to mess up,” he admits.

Since then he has spent hours researching, studying videos and developing his own style. He even goes along to ethical suppliers Cafeology to get in extra practice on his day off.

Now he is hoping his skill will help him to triumph at Friday’s championship in Newcastle, when he will have 15 minutes to make four each of espresso, cappuccino and speciality drinks.

Lesley Draper