Emma Mellor - Tynemouth's award-winning teenage barista

PUBLISHED: 22:34 09 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:43 20 February 2013

Emma Mellor - Tynemouth's award-winning teenage barista

Emma Mellor - Tynemouth's award-winning teenage barista

Emma Mellor is the cream of the crop of North East baristas. Jane Hall caught up with<br/>the teenager who has become a caffeine hit

Thats the way to brew it

Emmas six steps to a perfect cup of coffee

1 If using beans, invest in a good grinder and grind the coffee as you need it

2 Keep the coffee fresh buy in small amounts and keep either in the fridge or freezer

3 Use the highest quality coffee you can and know where your beans come from

4 If using a cafetiere let the water cool slightly before pouring it onto the coffee.
Water that is too hot can burn the coffee

5 If frothing milk use full fat. Milk is mostly water and you need the animal proteins to get the milk to froth

6 Use coarsely ground coffee for cafetieres and fine grain for filters

Gareth James Chocolatier, 12 Front Street,
Tynemouth, 0191 257 7799.

In the two years since Gareth James Chocolatier opened in Tynemouth it has built a reputation for its hand crafted luxury chocolates, truffles and treats.

But Gareth now faces tough competition for the publics affections from his own sister, Emma.

It used to be the mouth-watering array of chocolate confections created by 21-year-old artisan chocolatier Gareth Mellor (James is his middle name) that drew people into the shop but is the shop is now also building a reputation for serving the best coffees in Tynemouth, and possibly the North East.

And its no wonder. Emma is the reigning North East Culinary Trade Association Barista of the Year. The 18-year-old and her iced white chocolate mocha with cardamom and saffron beat off tough competition to win three of the four classes to take the overall top spot at the contest in May.

It means the former Heaton Manor School pupil in Newcastle, is one of the best professional coffee makers in the country, a claim she will be able to put to the test next year when she will hopefully be heading for the UK Barista Championships in London.

It was my first competition and I was absolutely terrified, Emma said. You only got 30 minutes practice before you had to go on, but I was too nervous to even really do that. But as soon as I stepped out on the stage my nerves went and I moved into my comfort zone of doing what I do every day in the shop. Even so, I couldnt believe it when I found out I had won.

Emmas win is perhaps all the more incredible because she was a coffee novice before she turned her back on her studies to join forces with Gareth. I knew nothing about all the different flavours and the different beans from different countries, she said.

And I was ignorant about the science of coffee. For instance, the milk for a cappuccino or a latte should be served at between 69F-72F. Any hotter and the sugars and proteins in the milk start to break down and it wont bring out the natural sweetness of the coffee.

Emma is especially good at making froth with flair otherwise known as latte art. With a swirl of milk and crema she can tease a leaf or other patterns from the flat white froth that last as long as there is any liquid left in the cup.

All Gareth James coffees are made using the same Pumphreys Espresso
Crema blend, a deep roasted mix of two beans from Indonesia that shine when used for traditional milky drinks. Both the beans and the ground variety can be bought by customers, who she says are becoming more appreciative of fine coffee.

We have noticed in the last few months that people are coming back because they enjoy the coffee as well as the chocolates. There are so many places you can get coffee, but we do ours differently.

Both Gareth and myself have been brought up around nice food and it
doesnt serve any purpose for us to do anything by half measures and not to do things properly.

And proud brother Gareth added: Its important for me that she won, but most of all its really important for Emma to get the recognition she deserves for the things she does really well.

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