The World Barista Championship brings together national barista champions from around the world to centre stage, as they prepare four espressos, four milk drinks and four original signature drinks in 15 minutes.
Held in Amsterdam, it was Agneiszka Rojewska of Poland who was crowned the 2018 World Barista Champion, the first woman ever to win the title!
Craig Simon, 2018 Australian Barista Champion placed 7th in the championship, missing out on a top 6th birth by the narrowest of margins. This wasn’t the first time Simon has represented Australia at the World Barista Championships, having previously competed three times, and earning a career-high fourth place in 2014.
This year’s routine was Simon’s most sophisticated, mature and complete to date. Recognising the lack of common language or systems to evaluate coffee once it’s roasted for brewing, Simon created his version of a coffee tasting matrix using comparisons from the wine industry, and the deductive tasting systems used to identify provenance and quality. Simon studied a master sommelier course to help develop and refine his idea of a wine themed presentation.
“The coffee tasting matrix starts to identify where coffee flavours come from so we can identify the provenance of a coffee by taste alone. With this system, it means coffee can be evaluated as a finished product, flavour can be communicated clearly to anyone and a barista can engage with coffee consumers just as a sommelier does with wine.”
For his presentation, Simon presented two naturally processed Gesha coffees. For his espresso, he used a coffee from La Palma y El Tucan in Cundinamarc, Colombia. His milk coffee was from Gesha Village, located in Bench Maji, Ethiopia.
To create his signature drink, Simon transformed a Colombian coffee into flavours of a youthful oaked chardonnay from the Yarra Valley. A combination of non-alcoholic white grape juice, charred French oak and elderberry were charged with nitrogen to quickly infuse the aromatics and flavours into the juice and added to the chilled espresso. The result was a drink reminiscent of chardonnay that still keeps the integrity of the espresso’s flavours intact.
If you are keen to test your skills and replicate his World Barista Championship presentation, we’ve got all the details below for you!
Craig Simon’s Signature Recipe
6 shots Colombia La Palma y El toucan
– Dose: 22.5g
– Yield: 48g
– Time: 23s
50ml of non-alcoholic white (varietal) grape juice
4g charred French oak
0.1g zinc oxide added to 20ml of pure water
3g of elderberry
Cool espresso in ice bath to 14 degrees. Charge remaining ingredients with nitrogen for 6 minutes to infuse the aromatics and flavours into the grape juice. Chill in water bath. Add to chilled espresso and serve at 14 degrees.
Coffee: La Palma y El Toucan Natural Gesha
Coffee: Gesha Village Natural Gesha
Milk: 125ml FW texture
Cup size: 145ml