Esquires Coffee Houses has named the winner of its annual Barista of the Year 2012 competition, following a national contest held in Coventry.

Zorana Simic, who works in the coffee chain franchise’s Shepherds Bush, London branch, impressed the judges with her signature drink the Oreo Penguincino, which won her the contest. The drink features a double shot of espresso, a shot of vanilla syrup, two teaspoons of blended Oreo and a creamy macchiato-style froth, and was described as having depth and flavour.

Simic, who beat the reigning champion Chris Killen into second place by just one per cent, said: “I really enjoy experimenting and creating new and exciting drinks to try. It’s what I love about my job; that and the great people you get to meet too.

“I came up with several options before deciding on my final recipe and I was ever so surprised when my drink proved the most popular with the judges. It's a fantastic achievement to have won against such stiff competition and I’d relish the opportunity to enter something like this again.”

This is the fourth barista championship that the company has run and, according to the Managing Director of Esquires Coffee House UK Peter Kirton, the competition gets tougher every year. He said: “We’re always delighted to see the talent exhibited by our baristas at these events and this year the bar for quality was set even higher, with record scores from all entrants.

“Our baristas are at the heart of our business; they bring our products to life and provide our customers with the service they’ve come to expect from Esquires. To reach these high standards they really need to share our passion for great coffee and these contests are a fantastic way to not only showcase that passion but celebrate it too.

“As always I’d like to thank everyone involved for another great year and wish all those going forward into the UKBC heats the very best of luck.”

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