A barista from Wrexham is training hard in her bid to be become a national champion for her coffee-making skills.
Maddy Hemburg-Hayward, 20, has been entered in the Starbucks Barista Championships and is preparing for the district finals in Manchester.
The former Maelor School pupil, who works at the Starbucks cafe in Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre, is determined to progress to national finals.
She said: “I will be going head to head with baristas from Manchester, Bolton and across North Wales.
“I have been practicing hard on my free pouring and have come up with a few new designs.
“The judges are looking for your knowledge of coffee and Starbucks get our coffee beans from, countries such as Peru, Kenya and Guatemala. It’s then all about passion and showing that you are a real coffee ambassador.”
She added: “The hardest part is definitely the free pouring challenge. I have perfected the Starbucks little hero badge design and lots of others but they need to perfect.
“There is a throw down section which is a real head-to-head where baristas can show off their latte art skills. Coming up with designs to incorporate in the cream on top of lattes is challenging but good fun. Practice makes perfect.”
Maddy is hoping to make it to the European and Middle Asian finals which will this year be held in London.
She said: “The overall first prize is a trip to a choice of coffee bean producing countries to see how the whole coffee process starts. America has its own contest which is why we are grouped with Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
“My mentor, Billy Paterson, who is also a barista here, was in the competition last year and he’s told me how tough it is. He finished third in the district competition.
“I’m hoping to win it and qualify for the regional finals which covers Starbucks’ outlets all the way north of Wrexham to the tip of Scotland. It’s going to be tough but I’m up for the challenge.”
Maddy’s boss, Claire Edwards, believes she has every chance of progressing in what is a very tough competition.
She said: “It really is a tough competition and Maddy will be up against some of Starbucks’ very best baristas.
“However, she is really passionate about coffee. She’s very knowledgeable and has great free pouring skills. I’m sure she will do well and we will be supporting her all the way.”
“Maddy is very popular with our regular customers and everyone is encouraging her and hoping she does really well.”
Among them is Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley who said: “Maddy is really passionate about coffee and always has a smile on her face and gives every customer a warm welcome.
“I’m sure she will do really well and will be a wonderful ambassador not only for Starbucks but Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre.”