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Next Level Latte: Bremen Barista Now Named Best of All Starbucks Locations in Georgia

A coffee champion at one local Starbucks location has taken her championship to the next level. Lindsey Turner, one of the assistant managers at the Starbucks kiosk inside the Bremen Ingles, has been named the barista champion of all Starbucks locations, corporate and licensed, in the state of Georgia. The coffee chain announced her win via a Zoom meeting on April 25. This comes after Lindsey recently won the Ingles Starbucks Barista Championship in Anderson, South Carolina, earning her a spot in the state competition. She now moves on to compete in the southeast regional championship for all Starbucks’ licensed and corporate locations in the coming weeks. Should she win that competition, Lindsey will then travel to Seattle to compete in person for the North American title at Starbucks’ corporate offices.

To get to this level was no easy task. Lindsey had to compete at both the store and district levels before making it to the Ingles’ own corporate-wide competition. At the store level, she completed an assessment of questions testing her general coffee knowledge as well as information on Starbucks’ drinks. After a scoring process, Lindsey was chosen from Bremen’s store to compete at the district level, which encompasses 26 Ingles’ locations in Georgia and two in North Carolina. 

The district level competition was even more intense. Lindsey did a coffee tasting, made a latte and macchiato successfully, and also created her own drink. During the coffee tasting she completed an interview with the district’s Starbucks merchandiser discussing fun facts and good food pairings with each coffee. After this task was completed at all the locations competing in the district, Lindsey was chosen to move on to Ingles’ corporate-wide competition in Anderson, South Carolina, which was held on March 26. At this competition against baristas chosen from each of Ingles’ remaining three districts, she once again had to complete a coffee tasting and make a latte, caramel macchiato, and frappuccino each successfully. After each barista completed their round, Lindsey was chosen as the Ingles Starbucks Barista Champion.

The Ingles championship is what earned her the spot in the Georgia Barista Championship competing not only against baristas from corporate stand-alone locations but also from licensed kiosks found inside stores such as Kroger and Target. On April 17, a Starbucks representative visited the kiosk inside the Bremen Ingles and filmed her competition “run” to then upload and share with the competition judges. At this competition level Lindsey says it was more about creativity in making coffee. “I created a custom beverage and talked about the origin of the coffee I used, why the flavors worked with that coffee, and the reason I chose everything I put in it,” she said. She also had to make a macchiato and a latte, complete with “latte art,” to the Starbucks’ standard. Now Lindsey moves on to the Southeast Region Barista Championship where she will likely compete in a very similar way in the coming weeks.

However, these are not all the accolades Lindsey has acquired in her short one and a half years as a Starbucks barista and over three years in the coffee industry. She is also a certified Starbucks “Coffee Master.” To obtain this certification, she had to complete a coffee passport, obtain certificates in five different courses in the Starbucks Cold Brew Academy online, and do a coffee tasting for the district merchandiser who could certify her. “It’s about knowing and learning more about coffee than just a normal barista,” Lindsey said.

And studying coffee is one of the reasons why these accomplishments mean so much to her. “I love coffee, and ever since I started working at Starbucks, there’s a lot more about coffee that I’ve wanted to know. So this competition gives me the opportunity to learn more about it. I just didn’t think I would get this far.”

The leadership that Lindsey is under at Ingles is also very proud of all that she’s accomplished. The Bremen Ingles Starbucks Manager Marcia Entrekin says, “Lindsey and I really started all this together. I became manager of the kiosk only a couple of weeks after she started, and I’ve seen her grow so much as a manager and a person in the last year. And because of her we can say we have Starbucks’ Georgia Barista Championship winner here in Bremen. I am so very proud of her.”

Bremen Ingles Store Manager Shayne Murdock says, “When she decided she wanted to do this championship, it showed just how much of a great employee she is. To take the initiative to compete, especially driving three hours away to South Carolina for the Ingles Markets level of the championship, and then to win it and then the state championship – I’m very proud of her. My hat’s off to her for all of that.” 

Kayla Atherton, the district Starbucks merchandiser for the Bremen Ingles also chimed in, “I’m so proud of Lindsey for this great accomplishment! I was there for her Coffee Master Certification as well, and she also did an amazing job at that. She has just shown time and time again how much dedication and hard work she puts toward doing something she loves.”

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Kevin is a reporter for The City Menus. A 2007 graduate of the University of West Georgia, he moved out of state briefly before returning to the Carroll County community in 2013. He enjoys seeing and writing about the growth in Carrollton and surrounding communities.