Bridlington barista grinds out awards win

UK National Winner.'Beverage Standards Awards.'Best Latte 2013.'Oakley Wheelwright.'NBFP PA1343-2
UK National Winner.'Beverage Standards Awards.'Best Latte 2013.'Oakley Wheelwright.'NBFP PA1343-2

Coffee lovers can enjoy an award-winning latte made by a 21-year-old Bridlington barista whose ability has recently achieved national recognition.

Two years ago Oakley Wheelwright, 21, opened Crema Espresso Bar in Wellington Road, Bridlington, after sparking his passion for coffee making with a job in a cafe.

“I just went from there getting more and more interested in coffee and a couple of years ago I decided it would be good to go it alone,” said Oakley, who heads up his team of four other staff members.

Last week he discovered by text he had won the Beverage Standards Association award for Best Latte in the UK.

This award is one of just seven National Best Drink Awards dished out at the ceremony.

He also scooped the Five Cup Rating, similar to achieving a five-star standard, for the overall quality of his business.

“I wasn’t actually at the awards ceremony, but someone I knew texted me to tell me about it,” said Oakley, who has immersed himself in coffee culture to perfect his trade.

He said: “It is about being obsessed.

“It is learning about every step of the journey from talking to the best roasters who are the best in their game, to selecting the best coffee you think will work well, using the best equipment and never being satisfied, always striving for better.”

Judging came in three rounds this year, with experts visiting the shops unannounced to sample the coffee and experience the service.

Oakley had been nominated by one of the roasters he works with, and was subject to a rigorous - but at the time completely secret, assessment process.

He said: “It is a really nice vote of confidence that world renowned people have come here and tasted it.

“It is a great reward for all the hard work.

“I think it is going to put Bridlington on the coffee map and it will make others shops around the country take notice.”

The team at Crema Espresso Bar celebrated with champagne, and Oakley now said he wants to revamp the shop, to share the success with customers.

The Beverage Standards Awards assess establishments serving hot drinks, heralding itself as the ‘Michelin stars of the hot drinks industry’.

The awards night was held in London.