Strawberry Banana Mochaccino captures first Barista Challenge
What started as a novel idea turned into an all-out battle, pitting seven employees of Coffee Bar @ Bailey’s against each other in a war to create the island’s most delicious and desired new specialty beverage.
The basic concept for the inaugural Barista Challenge was simple: each barista could concoct the most original — and flavorful — beverage using whatever ingredients they wished. As a reward, the winning entry would be featured as one of the business’ monthly specials.
"Everybody’s entry was completely different," said Renee Cutaia, account manager for the six-month-old coffee stand located inside the entrance to Bailey’s General Store. "Some were hot and some were cold, but each of them were very unique. Some of the baristas even went so far as to buy special ingredients to incorporate into their drinks."
The Barista Challenge, held during the first weekend in May, was entered by seven of the business’ highly-skilled baristas. Judging the contest were Coffee Bar owners Blanaid Colley and Jeremy Kane, their children, Lochlainn and Tara, their friends Mitchell and Dane Johnson as well as Cutaia.
Entries submitted to the panel of judges included Strawberry Lemonade, Tropical Tea, Mocha Bomb, Peanut Butter Mochaccino, Cocoa Mochaccino, Dirty Vanilla Chai Tea Latte and Strawberry Banana Mochaccino.
According to Cutaia, judging proved to be less predictable than expected.
"We thought that since most of the judges were younger, they would pick the sweeter drinks," she explained. "But that wasn’t the case. All of the entries were so good that it was really tough to pick only one winner."
But they did, selecting the Strawberry Banana Mochaccino, created by barista Alicia Meyer.
"I tried to come up with a few different concoctions… that’s what I like to do when we’re not too busy," said Meyer. "I loved the taste of the strawberries blended into the iced mocha drink, but at the last minute a friend of mine suggested adding bananas to the mix. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, but everybody seemed to like it."
Cutaia also noted that because the Barista Challenge entries were so delicious and so unique, that each will be featured during the next few months at Coffee Bar.
"Most of them are cold drinks, which sell much better during the summer," she said. "In the winter, we don’t sell a lot of cold beverages."
In addition to the weekly featured beverage selection, Coffee Bar @ Bailey’s offers a special five-bean blend of coffee derived from the finest beans grown in Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Sumatra. Those beans are roasted by their distributor in Portland, Ore.
"It is an original blend created just for us," added Cutaia. "We described what we wanted, a coffee that seemed to fit island life, and they put together this blend. It has a very mellow flavor, but with a little kick to it."
The business also offers many flavored syrups and mixes which can be added to any beverage. They run the gamut from amaretto and almond to peppermint and peanut butter. Also offered are Ghirardelli chocolate and caramel syrups as well as five sugar-free flavors.
Patrons are also invited to sip their way to savings at Coffee Bar. Now when you bring in your own reusable cup, receive a 10 percent discount off your beverage purchase. This is available for all hot, iced and blended drinks every time you visit with your own cup.
"Do your part to reduce and reuse by bringing in your cup, and reap the benefits of our eco-friendly discount," a recent press release stated. "Even our baristas have gone green and only use acrylic tumblers for their favorite drinks."
For more information, visit Coffee Bar @ Bailey’s at 2477 Periwinkle Way. Call 579-0026 for their full menu selections and hours of operation.