The Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) Southern Region Coffee Championships took place from 25th to 27th October 2019 at Sensory Lab in Port Melbourne. Competitions included Barista, Brewers Cup and Latte Art.
We are so proud of our very own Ben Cheong of Veneziano Coffee Roasters Richmond who come second in the barista competition. Third place going to Matt Perger of St Ali and first place going to Anthony Douglas of Axil Coffee Roasters.
This was Ben’s first attempt at the barista competition, and he has spent many hours behind the machine meticulously preparing for his routine. He was motivated to enter the competition to challenge himself to learn more. The barista competition was not just about making delicious coffee, it also challenged his self-discipline and time management skills.
Preparation for the competition started back in June, where Ben presented a general idea of his concept to our R&D Consultant, Pete Licata. They brainstormed the concept in detail and selected a hero coffee to showcase with the help of our Green Bean Buyer, Jack Allisey. They were able to source a coffee from his favourite farm, Granja La Esperanza, a Cerro Azul Honey processed Geisha. From there it was practice, practice, practice! Ben planned his training by splitting his presentation via course (espresso, milk beverage and signature drink run throughs). All courses were stitched together perfectly to finalise his 15-minute presentation.
A core part of the barista competition is to create a signature beverage primarily based around coffee. Ben’s signature drink combined four shots of Cerro Azul Honey processed Geisha espresso shots, 10g of roasted pineapple reduction, 8g of palm sugar simple syrup, 3g of cinnamon and 14g of sparkling water that had notes of tin pineapple, apricot and 70% dark chocolate.
Ben would like to thank the incredible team behind him for his success, including former WBC champion Pete Licata and 2 times Australian Barista Championship finalist Jade Jennings. Ben was also assisted by a team of award-winning staff members and world certified sensory judges at Veneziano Coffee Roasters.
The winning competitors from all states will be competing in the National Championships in February 2020 in Adelaide. The National winners in their respective competitions will go onto to represent Australia in the world championships to be held at Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) 4th – 7th May 2020.