Australia wins 'Best Coffee Nation' in 2010

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At the world’s premier coffee event, held a couple of weeks ago in London, Australian baristas scored highly to take out the trophy for the best team.

Paul and I were there with a trade display of the Perfect Espresso books and training resources – and to wave the flag for the Aussie competitors in the World Barista Championships (known in coffee circles as the WBC). It was only when we heard our National Anthem sung from afar, that we knew something important had happened for Australia. Australia had won the team event – having achieved the highest overall ranking across all events.

The 5 championship events and our Australian winners are:

1. Best Barista 

This involves presenting 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos and 4 signature drinks to a team of 2 technical judges, 4 sensory judges and 1 head judge. At the same time competitors must be able to talk about their beans and beverages. In a gruelling 15 minutes it is all over and Australian Scott Callaghan (from Bellaroma in Sydney) took out third place with Guatemala in second and the USA first. You were sensational, Scottie!

2. Latte Art 

2 macchiatos, 2 cappuccinos and two signature beverages are presented to judges – who are looking for things like creativity and consistency as well as overall performance.  This obviously involves loads of pouring practice particularly in getting every pair of beverages looking the same! Australia’s Will Priestley (from Cafenatics in Melbourne) came in second (by 2 points) to a Japanese girl whose performance everyone was talking about. Well done, Will!

3. Cup Tasting

The competitors are presented with 8 sets of 3 beverages and the ‘name of the game’ is to pick the one that is different from the other two.  Finely-tuned taste buds are needed for this one and Australia’s Jonny Pisanelli (from Cibo in Adelaide) came 6th, the highest score ever for an Australian in this event. Relatively unknown, compared with his competitors at this level, we can expect to see lots more of this talented young coffee taster. Go, Jonny go!

4. Coffee in Good Spirits

In this 8 minute competition, 2 warm Irish coffee beverages and two alcohol designer beverages (warm or cold) are made – with emphasis on each pair being identical. Coffee, cream, chocolate, sugar, Whiskey and various other types of alcohol and condiments are used in various combinations to produce treats to warm the hearts of the judges. However, it was a particularly hot day in London when Mitchell Faulkner (from Retail Food Group in Sydney) came in fourth place representing Australia.  By the way, if you would like to know the origin of Irish coffee, get yourself a copy of our Perfect Espresso Recipes: A barista’s guide to popular espresso beverages. We are proud of you, Mitchell!

5. Ibrik Challenge

Australia has never competed in this event before, but to be eligible for the best team, there has to be a competitor in each event. So it is with many thanks that we congratulate Rob Forsythe (from Forsythe Coffee), for his performance with an Australian outback theme, despite his lower placing.  In this 10 minute event, 3 different pairs of beverages are brewed using an Ibrik. Without you, Australia could not have won, Rob!

These London events involved over 50 competing countries and were the culmination of thousands of local and national events.  Such competitions raise the standard of coffee beverages each year throughout the world and are a great incentive for baristas everywhere to improve their skills.

There are guidelines for competing. So if you are interested in learning more about becoming a barista champion (or simply improving your knowledge and skills), go to www.worldbaristachampionship.com and start by downloading the rules and scoresheets.  That is, after you have armed yourself with a Perfect Espresso Training Pack or Barista Bible from us at Coffee Education Network! For that you need to go to www.perfectespresso.com.au