30 June, 2011

The new World Barista Champion is from El Salvador

The title of World Barista Champion for 2011 goes to Alejandro Mendez from Viva Espresso in El Salvador – significant not only because it is the most prestigious title an individual barista can win but also because it is the first time this title has gone to a producing country.

The competition took place in Bogota Colombia with over 50 nations competing.

Runners up were Pete Licata from Honolulu Coffee Company, USA in second place and Australia’s Matt Perger, from Axil Coffee Roasters in third place – only half a point behind.

SCAE World of Coffee results

While we did not make it to Bogota, Paul and I were among a small number of Australians who travelled to Maastricht to wave the flag for the three Aussie competitors in the SCAE World of Coffee. They all performed superbly to maintain Australia’s reputation as a leader when it comes to coffee skill and knowledge.

Australian Latte Art champion, Kirby Berlin

28 February, 2011

In a whirlwind promotional tour of New Zealand, Kirsty has tracked down some exceptional coffee experiences. For those familiar with the Perfect Espresso training system, an exceptional espresso experience involves the AAA criteria of AMBIENCE, ATTITUDE and ACTION. Basically this means:

The place has a good vibe or atmosphere;

The staff are all relaxed and efficient, welcoming and friendly; and

The coffee beverages are so enjoyable, you want to come back for more.

Should you wish to know more about the Perfect Espresso criteria, you can read about it in Chapter 9 of the Perfect Espresso Barista Bible. Check out for more information.


Upon arrival in Auckland, I met with one of our customers, Nadin Rathgeber from Ask Me 4 Coffee (115A Abbotts Way, Remuera). At her training studio she undertakes a variety of espresso programs including

18 December, 2010

When I started out in the coffee industry, I was amazed at how fiercely competitive it all was. With blending and roasting secrets to protect, there were no risks taken when it came to the topic of coffee. I was also shocked to witness some of the ‘in-your-face’ marketing tactics used by some companies, with few signs of collaboration among them.

10 years on and I am pleased to say that this has all changed.

Paul and I recently attended the 5th Golden Bean Roaster Competition and Conference in Port Macquarie organized by Sean Edwards and his team, where over 500 delegates, representing coffee companies from all over Australia, came together to share and learn. In fact, we talked of nothing but coffee for 3 days and nights – at seminars and social events alike. The Golden Bean event also includes a competition, designed to recognise Australia’s best beans and blends.

The components of a blend that wins a Golden Bean award are still a closely guarded secret. But there is certainly

08 July, 2010

Armed with the blue map to good coffee in London, Gwilym Davies’ Dis-loyalty Card and our own research, we had plenty of places to visit – on our mission to make an itinerary of 10 exceptional espresso experiences.

For those of you who are familiar with the Perfect Espresso training system, an exceptional espresso experience involves the AAA criteria of AMBIENCE, ATTITUDE and ACTION. Basically this means

1. The place has a good vibe or atmosphere.
2. The staff are all relaxed and efficient, welcoming and friendly.
3. The coffee beverages are so enjoyable, you want to come back for more.

Day 1: The East End

We started where we were told great espresso emanates from these days in London – the East End and home of the 2009 World Barista Champion, Gwilym Davies. Having sold his now famous coffee cart in Columbia Market, you will find Gwilym at Prufrock Coffee (140 Shoreditch High Street) – a trendy menswear store at the back and ‘drink-your-coffee-

05 July, 2010

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

09 June, 2010

Paul and I had the pleasure of meeting Gwilym Davies, the 2009 World Barista Champion from London, during his whirlwind tour of coffee hotspots in Australia. At Di Bella Coffee in Brisbane, a small group of like-minded espresso enthusiasts gathered last month to find out the latest tips and techniques from someone who has been judged best in their field.

Read what Gwilym had to say.

We have known for ages that there is more to making a great espresso than just having hot pressurised water flow through a cake of ground coffee beans, but new ideas and technology are pushing the boundaries of the technical aspects of extraction more than ever before.

In the 4-hour workshop and demonstration of extraction and milk techniques that won Gwilym the top barista award, we covered a lot, including software that can measure and show all sorts of things that happen during extraction. Here I will share with you what Gwilym had to say about tamping.

In a busy café,

09 June, 2010

I am always amazed at the number of espresso machines out there being driven by those who know little more than which buttons to push. And I am not talking about those super automatics where yes, the skill lies mostly in knowing which button to push and positioning the cup in the right place.

There are way too many so-called baristas using your typical pump machine with a grinder-doser and it is plainly obvious that they have had little or no training.

Regardless of whether you blame the management who won’t spend the time and money to train their baristas, or the customers who accept sub-standard lattes and cappuccinos, there is simply no excuse for anyone (barista, manager or customer) not knowing that training is the key to learning – whether it involves getting your dog to come when you call or knowing how to deliver an exceptional espresso experience for someone who orders a coffee from you.

‘This is not rocket science’ as they say and it does not involve a university degree

08 June, 2010

The world’s largest coffee event is about to take place in the UK . The best baristas from more than 50 countries will compete in the finals of the World Barista Championship. In its 11th year, this exciting event, is being hosted by the annual Caffe Culture event at Olympia Exhibition Centre in London from June 23-25.

Coffee Education Network will be there exhibiting the 10 Perfect Espresso publications. Make your way to stand E136 to say hello to Christine and Paul, and if you are an Aussie, wave the flag for Scott Callaghan, the Australian barista champion and the team of other Aussie competitors. Yes we will have little flags there for you to collect.

It has been 5 years since we drank coffee in London and we are both looking forward to seeing big changes – and more places to enjoy a great espresso coffee.  We have it on good authority, it all happens in the East End. Keep your eye on future blogs where we will have a great London coffee itinerary planned for you.