Peet's Coffee & Tea today conducted its fifth annual National Barista Competition, a battle between three regional finalists from around the country who have competed in a series of preliminary competitions that began in March. Rebecca Moak, from the Peet's Encinitas store, takes home the honor as Peet's top barista

The finals represent the culmination of a series of store, district and regional competitions that took place over a span of six months and involved more than 150 Peet's baristas. The finalists were judged on both technical quality and taste, using world barista competition standards, by an expert panel of judges that included four sensory judges, two technical judges and one head judge.

During the competition, Moak and her fellow finalists had 15 minutes to prepare three different types of beverages for each of the four sensory judges, including espresso, a traditional cappuccino and a signature beverage of the barista's choice.

"All three competitors did an outstanding job," says Doug Welsh, Vice President of Coffee. "The creativity behind Rebecca's signature drink, the espresso cortado, beautifully highlighted the nuances of the Arabian Mocha-Java beans she selected, and her pacing and immaculate preparation skills set her apart from the rest."

Prior to the competition, each regional finalist selected a non-profit organization to represent. By virtue of Moak's victory, Peet's will make a donation in the amount of $1,000 to the Surfrider Foundation (San Diego chapter).

"I am ecstatic. I can't believe this is real, because I've wanted this for such a long time," says Moak. "The traditional cappuccino is a favorite of my customers, and they are my inspiration and the reason I practice so much."

"Our fifth annual competition celebrates and honors our dedication to the barista craft," says Kay Bogeajis, Vice President of Retail at Peet's Coffee & Tea. "Every year, I'm so thrilled to witness our competitors showcase their expertise as they bring to life the Peet's promise of selective sourcing, artisan roasting, freshness and handcrafted beverages today and every day."