Lots of people cannot imagine getting out of the door in the morning without their trusty cup of joe.
But for Castlebar based barista Natalia Piotrowska, coffee - or speciality coffee to be more precise - is almost a religion.
Ms Piotrowska was recently crowned the Irish Barista Champion, meaning she is officially the best coffee maker in the land and she is now getting ready to brew up a storm at the World Barista Championship in Seattle, USA, from April 9 to 12.
The competition will see the world’s best coffee professionals battle it out over espressos and cappuccinos in a bid to be crowned the world barista champion.
It might be difficult for the casual consumer of what Ms Piotrowska calls ‘commodity coffee’ to understand such a dedication to the aromatic beans.
However, for Ms Piotrowska, it is a fascinating field.
“It is actually similar to how a connoisseur studies wine,” she outlined. “There is all of the subtleties of the flavours of the beans to take into account and so much can influence those flavours, such as where they are grown, how they are picked, how they are processed, how they are roasted.
“Then, when making the coffee, there are so many other factors to consider, such as the water that is used, the timing, and the techniques.”
Ms Piotrowksa works with world famous Dublin coffee company 3FE to source her beans and get mentoring and training to compete at such a high level of the profession.
She also has her own barista room in her home and spends countless hours preparing and practicing for competitions.
“You have to be very well prepared,” she explained. “Otherwise, it would be too stressful competing in front of an expert judging panel.”
Ms Piotrowska, who is originally from Poland and has lived in Ireland for the past six years, is now appealing to any local businesses or groups to help get her to Seattle and sponsor her world championship bid.
“So far, I have been funding all of this myself but it is going to be expensive to travel to Seattle and compete there, and I am looking for any help I can get with any amount of sponsorship to help me to cover the cost,” she said.
Contact Ms Piotrowska on (087 ) 6398530 or email [email protected].