Brian Chibwe has scooped Costa Coffee’s Barista of the Year 2019 in its annual Champion of Champions competition.

Chibwe, 22, has been working for Costa in the UAE for two and a half years. He beat Ruggero Barlaba, from Guildford in the UK, into second place. Nestor L. Allado JR., also from the UAE, took third.

Twelve Costa baristas, from a global pool of 30,000 Costa Coffee makers, fought it out to be crowned Costa Coffee’s Champion of Champions. The final dozen battled for six months to win a place at the final at the Troxy Theatre in London on 18 July.

Judges included Bake Off star Selasi Gbormittah, Costa Coffee’s Master of Coffee Gennaro Pelliccia, and Deb Caldow, Global Head of Coffee Innovation.

Chibwe said the competition had been “intense” but he was “absolutely overjoyed to be crowned Costa Coffee’s Barista of the Year 2019. When you enter competitions like this you realise being a barista isn’t just a job but can be a career. The talent and standards have been high, but I’m delighted the judges have chosen me as the best in the business!”