Veneziano Coffee Roasters managing director Craig Dickson is the only Australian currently certified as a World Coffee Judge, qualified to judge in all three categories of Barista, Brewers Cup and Latte Art at international level.
World Coffee Events (WCE) conduct Judge Certification Workshops around the globe for the specialty coffee community, with workshops held in March 2013 in Long Beach, USA; Melbourne, Australia; Singapore; and Tolentino, Italy.
World judges must have a minimum of two years’ experience judging at their national competition level before they can try for the qualification. Craig has over ten years’ experience, including head judging duty (the head judge oversees all of the seven other judges, being sensory and technical) as well as having judged at New Zealand’s national competition in 2012. World coffee judges must abide by the WCE Judges Code of Conduct.
Australia currently has seven World Barista Championship (WBC) certified judges, two of whom are technical judges (Craig is a sensory judge), two World Brewers Cup Championship (WBrC) certified judges and two World Latte Art Championship (WLAC) certified judges.
Craig plans to put his certification into practice at Melbourne’s WBC and WBrC campaign in May 2013 and in Nice, France this June at the WLAC where another Veneziano staff member, 2013 Australian Latte Art Champion Jen Marks, will compete for the WLAC title.
He says his role as a coffee judge in the specialty coffee industry’s most valued competitions is one part of the long line of success behind Veneziano Coffee Roasters, that includes the career development and education of many baristas and cafe owners in the specialty coffee scene that now have successful stand alone businesses.
“Judging has been invaluable in helping us prepare our baristas for the competitions
that can change their career, and indeed their life”, says Dickson.
“In addition to origin visits, cupping and roasting workshops, meeting coffee growers… Judging is definitely an important factor in growing my own, and Veneziano’s, coffee knowledge”, he says.
“They’re all forms of education and all the pieces connect together between grower, barista and coffee consumer”.