Australia's Best Beans – 2011

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Imagine 1,206 different coffees to taste – all in 3 days! 

Every year coffee roasters from all over Australia send their best beans to be judged by their peers at a conference and tasting event known as The Golden Bean.  Coffee enthusiasts come to learn about the latest trends and developments from experts in their fields – and between sessions, participate in tasting and judging beverages made from beans entered in the following categories:

Espresso, milk based, Australian grown, filter, organic espresso, single-origin, decaffeinated, syphon, chain/franchise coffee.

Behind the scenes is a team of dedicated baristas, the best from all over the country, who give up their time to pull shots and foam milk all day – on machines that have been pre-calibrated for consistency.  The beverages are presented to the tasters in another room away from the intense and complex aromas that result when dozens of different beans are ground and extracted one after the other. Runners go back and forth bringing beverages in pairs to the tasting tables – on trays with their coded scoring sheets. The tasters must attend a calibration session that teaches them how to score for consistency and they work in pairs to arrive at a fair and honest score. You could be judging your own beans – or those of your fiercest competitor. But you will never know. And no one wants to anyway.

Baristas, roasters, runners and tasters are all rewarded for their hard work at the fabulous evening events. This year it was go-cart racing and a BBQ on the first night, chocolate and coffee cocktails with finger food on the second and the formal dinner and announcement of winners as the grand finale. Bronze, silver and gold medals are awarded in each category. 

The overall winner for 2011 was Dimattina Coffee, from Melbourne, with Cibo Espresso, from Adelaide - the winner of the Coffee chain category.

The runners up were two Queenslanders Di Bella from Brisbane Caffe Silipo (below) from the Gold Coast.