London, it surprises many people to learn, was the first coffee metropolis in the Western hemisphere. By 1675, there were as many as 3,000 coffee houses across the UK. By contrast, the first coffee house did not open in Paris until 1672. The pioneering work of English coffee makers may surprise those who deem the English as eternal tea drinkers – but the country still maintains its practice of great coffee brewing until today.
The tradition continues in England with Costa Coffee, the second-largest coffee chain in the world and fastest growing in the United Kingdom. Costa actively tries to locate the world’s leading coffee talents, and bring the art of coffee brewing to unmatched levels. Each year, Costa Coffee holds a “Barista of the Year” contest, inviting employees from 2,755 coffee shops worldwide to participate.
This year, Cambodian barista Phearum Lonh asserted himself against 16,997 other co-workers to come in third place at the barista finals. He was one of 10 finalists selected from 29 countries to be invited to the annual festivities in London.
At the 2014 “Barista of the Year” finals, 24-year-old Phaerum impressed the judges with his personal passion and favourite flavours: banana, Cambodian palm sugar and fresh milk with a dedicated espresso shot to create a short, full-bodied coffee.
Tested on their ability to hand-make a perfect cup of coffee and their understanding of the industry, the finalists were also judged on their overall performance, flair and passion for coffee, as well as on their creativity by inventing their own signature drink.
Operations manager Nhep Delux commented on the great success of Costa Coffee Cambodia in the international competition. “Professionalism, talent and the skills of our baristas will always ensure that every cup of our coffee is handcrafted perfectly and true to the brand standard before serving to every single of our customers.”
Costa Coffee has been bringing the English tradition of coffee-making to the global market since it was founded in London by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa in 1971. Since then, Costa has become the UK’s favourite coffee shop chain and has recently diversified into both the at-home and gourmet self-serve markets.
Costa arrived in Cambodia in late 2012 as the latest franchise addition to the Express Food Group, a sister company of RMA Cambodia. And with Phearum’s success in the Costa Coffee barista competition, coffee enthusiasts in Cambodia can rest assured that they only need travel as far as their nearest Costa Coffee branch for a world-class cup of coffee.