A barista has been nominated for a top coffee award – even though she HATES the drink. and has never tasted it.
Paula Lumsden is in line for a national taste title without ever trying her own speciality brew.
The 31-year-old, who works at a Costa in South Tyneside, has reached the final of the Barista Challenge competition.
She and nine others, picked from around 500 entrants in regional heats, will battle it out for the title of National Barista of the Year next month.
But the coffee-maker doesn’t drink the brew herself – and milk makes her sick.
Paula, from Marsden, South Shields, has achieved her success by creating great tasting coffee based on instinctive sight and feel alone.
Her talent – and the support of a small team of tasters – means her Mocha Orange, which takes five minutes to perfect, already stands out from the crowd.
It consists of semi-skimmed milk, fresh orange juice, a double shot of coffee, double cream and 15g of hot chocolate, all topped with shavings of Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
Paula said: “I don’t like coffee and a medical condition means I cant drink milk, but I’ve learnt that there’s a lot more goes into making good coffee than taste alone.
“You have to know the weight and feel of the drink, and also how it looks. It is frustrating not being able to taste the Mocha Orange. I have to go solely on what other people say.”