Crema of the Crop

Brooke Draney WinnerBrooke Draney named 2017 Zarraffa’s Barista of the Year

After three steaming heats, the recent 2017 Zarraffa’s Coffee Barista Competition reached a piping hot finish, with 25-year-old Brooke Draney taking home top honours.

Over three days, 19 contestants representing Toowoomba North, Heathwood, Worongary, Acacia Ridge, Calamvale, Beenleigh, Chatswood Road, Cairns, Currimundi, Toowoomba Drive Thru and Helensvale stores were required to make an espresso, latte and a signature beverage (using only Zarraffa’s products) within a 15-minute timeframe. Contestants also displayed their knowledge of the coffee bean, and a comprehensive understanding of the coffee they were producing. Throughout the contest, they were judged by a panel of experts including Zaraffa’s Training Manager, Jennifer Goodall.

After intense opening rounds, the finalists were narrowed down to Doug from the Worongary, Nerang, Slacks Creek and Acacia Ridge group of stores, Joshua from Heathwood, Levi from Beenleigh, Isaac from Beenleigh, Brooke from Acacia Ridge and Kate from Head Office. Ultimately it was Brooke who took out the top gong, with her signature drink – Maple Espresso with Peanut Butter Pouring Cream.

Fresh from her win, Brooke, sat down with us to speak about the competition and what the title means to her.


GM: Hi Brooke, congratulations on your win. Which Zarraffa’s store do you represent?

BD: Hi! I represented the Acacia Ridge store in the barista competition but recently started working at the Slacks Creek store.

GM: How long have you been a barista?

BD: 10 years this year.

GM: What made you want to become a barista?

BD: To be honest, I didn’t really decide I wanted to be a barista. It was honestly the first job I got when I was 15 years old. I think I was actually really terrible at the job for a pretty long time, but when I started to get better at it, it turned out I really enjoyed it.

GM: How did you feel when you were announced this year’s winner?

BD: When Kenton (Campbell, Founder of Zarraffa’s) announced I was the winner, I think I was in shock. I knew I had worked my butt off, but I never imagined that I would win.

GM: Have you entered the contest before?

BD: I entered the contest a few years back when it was done in groups. I entered with two of my close friends Kate and Hannah, and while we had a fun time we didn’t make it to round two. Since then we can all say we have been barista competition finalists!

GM: Have your colleagues been giving you any special treatment since bringing home the trophy?

BD: No, not really any special treatment but there’s definitely a lot more pressure on me now.

GM: What was your winning recipe inspired by?

BD: My winning recipe was inspired by my time spent living in Vancouver, Canada. I lived there for 16 months and indulged in a lot of delicious maple-y and peanut butter-y treats.

GM: What would be the perfect food item to complement your winning creation?

BD: I think my drink would go perfectly with banana pancakes.

GM: How did you prepare in the lead up to the competition?

BD: I spent a lot of time before and after work in store practicing for the comp. I made everyone in my store taste my drinks a hundred times to help me perfect them. I also studied the judges’ scores and comments very closely to see where I needed to improve each round.

One thing that helped me mentally prepare on the day was listening to Metallica on the drive down the coast. Somehow it really helps me get in the zone and focus.

GM: How did you do in the espresso and latte portions of the contest?

BD: My tech is what I scored best in, so doing everything by the book helped me score really well in the espresso round. My lattes are what I thought needed the most work in the lead up to the competition, so I practiced the heck out of them and I guess I did alright!

GM: Will you try and hold onto your crown and compete for the title again next year?

BD: Maybe if I got a real crown? Haha! Not to sound ungrateful for an awesome trophy! I did find a new inspiration and theme that I said if I did the competition again I would use but I might just wait a see. That’s a lot of pressure.

GM: What’s your favourite coffee from the Zarraffa’s menu and why?

BD: I actually like making all the coffees apart from flat whites. They are boring to make. My favourites would have to be the drinks I make for my regular customers

Brooke shares her winning recipe with us.

Maple Espresso with Peanut Butter Pouring CreamWinning Coffee

Single shot of espresso (Guatemalan bean)

1 teaspoon of Canadian maple syrup

2 teaspoons of peanut butter pouring cream (recipe below)

Mix 1 tablespoon of peanut butter in 200ml of cream.

Brooke’s tip: “I used a natural peanut butter as it stirs in better and added a bit of salt to balance the flavour. If you like a bit a texture you can use a crunchy peanut butter.”

Zarraffa’s Coffee Trifecta for Townsville

This week marks the opening of the third Zarraffa’s Coffee store in Townsville, signifying a strong love of java in the North.

Celebrating 20 years in retail this year, the Aussie-owned coffee franchise chain, first opened its doors in Townsville in 2013 with the Fairfield store, followed by another in 2014 on Hugh Street and this week on Riverway Drive, Condon.

Local franchisee, Corey Blakemore, who relocated his family to Townsville to set up the first store, said the coffee culture is the perfect blend of customers who want to enjoy great coffee, with added convenience.

“All our stores are drive thrus but we know the importance of offering a cool, instore environment for those wishing to take time out of their day, especially in our climate,” he said.

Mr Blakemore said since opening their doors, locals have embraced the Zarraffa’s menu and wasn’t surprised that the cold fusion drinks were some of the more popular with locals.

“That’s the best part about our menu offering – whether it be the guys and girls from the local army base, the Cowboys players on their way to and from training, tradies out and about, or mums and dads on the school run – there is a coffee option that suits everyone.”

The new Riverway Drive store will cater to locals on the western side of town, near the turn off to the A1 Ring Road and close to James Cook University.

“It will be a standalone drive thru store but will offer a dine-in environment; somewhere to stop off and grab a bite, just across from the Ross River.”

Managing Director and Founder of Zarraffa’s Coffee, Kenton Campbell, said the love affair with his brand in Townsville has elevated the local stores to some of the top in the group.

“From day one the people of Townsville have supported our businesses and we look forward to growing with the community, through product and service and local employment.”

Between the three stores a total of 75 locals are employed as Baristas.

“We consider ourselves a training organisation and it is our consistency of service and our menu – whether you are in Townsville, Hervey Bay or Perth – that our customers can rely on a great cup of coffee, just the way they like it…every time.”

Mr Campbell said it is elements like the company’s silver partnership with the Toyota North Queensland Cowboys and the repeat customers that the Zarraffa’s stores see daily that will ensure future growth in the region.

“We already have another site ready to open in 2018 and will look at future growth opportunities as they arise but the bottom line is that we love our Townsville customers and we are here to stay.”

Zarraffa’s Coffee Riverway Drive (Drive Thru) is located – 887 Riverway Dr Condon Q 4815
Opening hours:         5am – 10pm, seven days a week

Coffee Lovers Spoilt for Choice

Regulars to Zarraffa’s Coffee in Morayfield now have more reasons to head out for coffee with the opening of a brand-new drive thru store, just down the road.

Local Franchisee, Terry Bambury – who opened the original Morayfield store in 2005 and also runs the Zarraffa’s Currimundi, Maroochydore and Caloundra drive thru stores – said the busy location will cater to the growing surrounding communities, with the added convenience a drive thru provides.

“It’s all about choice for local Zarraffa’s customers,” said Mr Bambury. “The Sunshine Coast region is growing and we want to be able to provide coffee and meal options to all people; those who have the time to sit and enjoy, and also our busy customers on the go.”

Mr Bambury, whose experienced team is familiar with the local community and the demands of a drive thru store, are excited to deliver more options for customers across the day.

“The location has been crying out for one of our drive thru stores, which will now allow for a greater number of people to access good coffee across the day.”

An advantage of the Morayfield Road drive thru store is its exceptionally convenient trading hours.

“We’ll be open seven days a week from 5am to 10pm so we can cater to tradies and workers first up, parents on the school run, commuters across the day, through to night workers and emergency staff later into the evening.”

The new store will also house seating and a walk-in café area for those who want to take time out.

“We’ve known for many years that while our drive thrus make things easier for those on the go, there are so many of our customers who simply want to dine-in, ordering at their leisure from their barista and generally take time out,” said Zarraffa’s CEO Kenton Campbell.

“Having so much choice in close proximity, whether you are visiting Morayfield Shopping Centre or travelling along Morayfield Road, the new store gives people their time back and provides many easy choices.”

The existing store at Morayfield Shopping Centre will remain open for the foreseeable future, as a key part of the food and beverage offering at the local centre.

“When you have the right location and landlords work with you to keep the business in place, all backed by a strong following of customers, it makes sense to keep both stores in operation,” said Mr Campbell.

“While these two stores will be in very close proximity, we are mindful that there are many ways people wish to access their daily cup of coffee and we are in a position, now with the two locations, to deliver on this.”

Zarraffa’s Coffee Morayfield Road Drive Thru is located – 369 Morayfield Road, Morayfield Q 4506
Opening hours:         5am – 10pm, seven days a week


Double Honours for Zarraffa’s Top Franchisee

Zarraffa’s Coffee Beenleigh has been awarded top company honours, crowned both Franchisee of the Year and Store of the Year, last night at the 2017 National Franchise Conference.

Zarraffa's Awards
Zarraffa's Awards
Zarraffa's Awards

Set amongst the swaying palms on picturesque Hamilton Island, franchisee Nick Daswani accepted on behalf of his wife Kelly and his entire Beenleigh team, who have consistently been recognised as an outstanding operator in the franchise group since opening.

“Nick and his team are stellar examples of what hard work and a commitment to a franchising system can achieve,” said Zarraffa’s Coffee Managing Director, Kenton Campbell.

This is the third year that the Beenleigh store has been awarded the Store of the Year Award and attaining the coveted Franchisee of the Year Award is all the sweeter because of it.

“When I got into franchising I said I want to be the best franchisee I could be,” said Mr Daswani. It’s a huge honour, and this brand has a ton of franchisees who deserve this award.

I’ve always quoted the saying ‘No man who has ever given his best has regretted it’ and I feel like that tonight.”

The Zarraffa’s National Franchise Conference also recognised a host of other store successes including the Rookie of the Year – for stores that have traded for less than two years.

“I was exceptionally proud to be able to present this award to our Toowoomba North store, which is operated one of our  former store managers. These are two young guys making a go of owning and running a store, taking all that they have learned to build a business future for themselves.”

Another key accolade of the evening was the presentation of the company’s Brand Ambassador, which went to veteran franchisee, Brendan Blakemore, who opened the company’ s original drive thru store at Worongary on the Gold Coast and pioneered the brand in Townsville.

“Brendan has been such a fantastic example to other franchisees in our group and it was high time recognition of the support he provides his peers and the contribution he has made to our company was recognised.”

The conference was also a moment for the entire company to reflect on the achievement of 20 years in business and one that was of particular significance to Mr Campbell, his wife Rachel and their eldest son Vaughan who attended.

“I have always said that I had to come all the way to Australia to make my ‘American Dream’ come true,” joked Mr Campbell who became an Australian citizen in 2000.

“When I think back over these 20 years, I’m extremely proud of the hard work and energy that not only my family has given, but all of the families of businesses that form part of the Zarraffa’s Coffee franchise group.”

“There are lots of long hours, getting up every day to ensure our customers have their coffee, in most cases from 5am. I’m just so proud of what we have achieved and truly excited for what’s to come.”

The full list of 2017 Award recipients:

Franchisee of the Year
Zarraffa’s Coffee Beenleigh (Nick and Kelly Daswani) 

Store of the Year
Zarraffa’s Coffee Beenleigh (Nick and Kelly Daswani)

Rookie of the Year (6-12 months trading)
Zarraffa’s Coffee Toowoomba North (Ashley Byers and Jordan Wyborn ) 

CEO Encouragement Award
Brett Kochner & Terry Fleming – Zarraffa’s Coffee Heathwood, Richlands & Booval

Brand Ambassador Award
Brendon Blakemore – Zarraffa’s Coffee Fairfield & The Lakes

Drive Thru Growth Award
Zarraffa’s Coffee Fairfield (Brendon, Debbie and Corey Blakemore) 

Strip Mall Growth Award
Zarraffa’s Coffee Hervey Bay (Bec and Chris Bee)

Internal Shopping Centre Growth Award
Zarraffa’s Coffee Pacific Fair (Kenton and Rachel Campbell)

External Shopping Centre Growth Award
Zarraffa’s Coffee Greenslopes (Brooke Li)