South Africa’s Phuti Mmotla is the best Starbucks barista in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

BY CityLIfe Arts Writer

Starbucks Barista, Phuti Mmotla from South Africa has been crowned the best barista in the whole of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, at this year’s Starbucks 2022 EMEA Barista Championship final.

An annual competition that seeks to identify the leading barista talent, this year’s final saw all ten finalists battle it out for the top spot in the heart of Starbucks® coffee expertise – the Starbucks® Reserve Roastery in Milan.

Phuti, who is a partner at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront Starbucks Store, crowned Starbucks’ best barista in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) after going through local heats, and then on to the regional final, where ten baristas were tested on coffee tasting and storytelling, latte art and signature beverages – with the aim of winning the coveted purple apron.

The 2022 Starbucks EMEA Barista Championship Final was the largest one yet, connecting over 40,000 green apron partners from 42 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the first hybrid championship since COVID-19.

 This year’s Barista Championship Final was held at the iconic Starbucks Roastery in Milan, four years after it first opened, and as we celebrate the opening of our 20th store in Italy, in historic Verona.

 More about Phuti Mmotla

  • Originally from Pretoria, Phuti joined Starbucks five years ago when he moved to Cape Town. Over his career he has found his passion for coffee, learning not just about how to make the perfect latte art but about the farming of coffee, its roasting profiles and complex flavours. His favourite thing about working for Starbucks is that it and provide a home away from home, connecting people no matter where they come from. His aim is to continue to inspire the growing coffee culture throughout South Africa.

Background on Starbucks EMEA Barista Championship 

  • Starbucks Barista Championships tests top baristas from every store across Europe, Middle East and Africa, to recognise the very best in class of Starbucks coffee craft expertise. The first EMEA Barista Championships took place in 2014.  
  • Each year, Starbucks Barista Championships are held across all four nations so Starbucks partners can showcase their deep coffee passion, craft and expertise. In EMEA, baristas from each market go through local heats, and then on to the regional final, fighting for the coveted purple apron during the EMEA Championships Final.

Background on the Starbucks® Reserve Roastery in Milan… 

  • Since entering the market in 2018 with the Starbucks® Reserve Roastery in Milan, Starbucks has strived to be a company with partners (employees), customers and coffee at its core. The Starbucks® Reserve Roastery acts as a brand amplifier, providing an immersive coffee experience and a pipeline of design and product innovation.
  • The Milan Roastery is the only Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Europe, located on Milan’s historic Piazza Cordusio, and a place where our Italian customers can come to discover the art and science of Starbucks coffee craft. All Reserve coffee for Starbucks across Europe, Middle East and Africa is roasted at the Starbucks® Reserve Roastery in Milan and we’re thrilled to host our top baristas from across the region for the very firstEMEA Barista Championship final at the Roastery.  
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