Advertisement



News

January 19, 2017

Setting Standards & Driving Innovation

The World Barista Championships

Returning from judging the World Barista Championships in Dublin, I decided to share some thoughts on the role that these events play in the ever evolving world of specialty coffee. The World Barista Championship (WBC) can, from the outside, look very detached from the day to day café world.

Baristas will often use elaborate equipment, exotic coffee and utilise advanced brewing techniques, which many café baristas or owners would shy away from in the fast paced daily service. So, what then does this hyper real showcase of coffee making contribute to the wider coffee industry, and how does the organising body, World Coffee Events (WCE), mission statement to “engage the specialty coffee industry and promote coffee excellence” play out?

With its detailed and relatively objective assessment criteria, the WBC has become the most widely adopted global standard for espresso coffee quality. With the format used across over 50 countries for their national level events, the WBC acts on specialty coffee in two distinct phases. In emerging specialty coffee markets, like the United Arab Emirates, where I’ve judged for the past few years, the rules and scoresheets of the WBC act as a framework, guiding this young industry towards world’s best practices. On the flip side, in highly established markets like here in Australia, the USA or the UK, the competition provides an opportunity to explore the cutting edge of specialty coffee preparation and service.

Many aspects of the specialty coffee experience we now take for granted have been significantly advanced by their showcase on the competition stage.

The service of single origin espresso, for example, and the appreciation of their individual flavour profiles has substantial roots in the WBC. Where once a balanced espresso was seen to require the blending of multiple beans, the competition format around the expression of distinct flavour profiles and transparent coffee lineage has seen single origin selections come to the fore. As high profile competitors began to receive recognition for their service of these coffees, we saw café baristas and specialty roasters follow this trend and use it as a point of interest for engaging with their customers. “What single origin are you featuring?” is now a frequently asked question in specialty cafés, and even the service experience is often accompanied by coffee cards and tasting notes as pioneered at judges tables.

The serving of single origins has also driven a high level of focus on the traceability of the coffees – a movement which has had significant impacts through the supply chain. In the pursuit of demonstrating their knowledge as a coffee professional and communicating just why their chosen espresso is so damned delicious, competitors have for multiple years now looked to tell a story of both the coffee itself, but also that of the producers behind it. Making champions of those producers striving for excellence and innovating at the farm level by promoting them on the world stage has undoubtedly contributed to the furtherance of specialty coffee.

Inevitably, competition baristas searching for the best microlots end up at the door of similar producers. This has made celebrities of innovative producers such as Aida Batlle, whose coffee was served by many competitors, notably in 2014 and 2015. This year’s competition in Dublin saw many baristas select their amazing green coffee from the champions of progressive farming and processing, Ninety Plus. While this rarefied group of incredibly expensive microlots does not represent the majority of coffee produced, it does provide a valuable platform to showcase the super pointy edge of innovative producer practices.

WCE Dublin saw a focus in many performances on presenting what’s being tentatively labelled as the “4th Wave” of producer driven innovation in the specialty coffee industry. This concentration on how a chosen coffee came to taste as described in the cup advanced the competitive conversation beyond where the coffee came from and very much towards varietal and processing.

Varietal
Top six finalist Lex Wenneker of the Netherlands compared specialty coffee varieties to service in the wine world in perhaps the most varietal-central performance of the competition. Lex selected three coffees from one Colombian estate, Las Margaritas. They were all from the same harvest and all processed naturally; however, each course was a different varietal. Accompanied by a filter brew of each served in a wine glass, Lex focused on how our service of select varietals could translate at a consumer level by highlighting specific sensory experiences in each of the Sudan Rume, Geisha and Pacamara variety brews he served. Varietal separation and specific varietal selection are becoming more commonplace with progressive specialty coffee producers, but unless we can translate this effort and expense to the café customer, it will remain the demand of roasters, coffee geeks and competitors rather than a sustainable option for the wider producing community. Performances such as Lex’s bring this conversation to the fore.

Processing

The second placing performance of Yoshikazu Iwaze was unique, as he blended or “interwove” two coffees together for his drinks. Using two different grinders to achieve specific particle size and extractions, Yoshikazu mixed differing percentages, after grinding, of each Ninety Plus coffee. These coffees were a marriage of two varietals but more interestingly, two opposite processing methods when it came to fermentation of the cherry. The Panama Geisha enjoyed a low temperature fermentation, gaining balance and complexity through an extended process of “cold fermentation”. The single varietal Ethiopian selection had, in contrast, gone through a “melted fermentation”, high temperature and less time. This deliberate innovation in the processing of specialty coffees gives producers a further means to provide coffee with a defined profile. For the competitor like Yoshikazu, this obviously allows a selection of coffees that will achieve a very specific cup profile. For us as roasters and specialty coffee professionals, however, this also suggests an approach to secure coffee that is exaggerated and expressive for our customers, presenting a consistent approach to producing new flavour experiences.

Varietal and processing have undoubtedly been a feature of the competition world for a few years and have, at a basic level, become part of the café to consumer lexicon. The exploration of these areas within WBC will likely see further efforts into innovation at farm level, along with a slow outpouring of knowledge and appreciation to the specialty coffee consumer.

I often liken the WBC to Formula One racing, in the way that it leads innovation that then trickles down to the wider industry. The average consumer may not know where these innovations came from, but can still appreciate their incorporation into a personal experience.

So what did we see this year that is likely to appear in specialty coffee shops across the globe?

Rivalling each other for most utilised coffee tool were the OCD and Acaia scales.

Both made appearances last year with a few competitors, but this year were almost ubiquitous on the benches of each national champion. The OCD is a levelling tool which in the competition environment simplifies achieving consistency on the technical scoresheet; it makes it that much easier for a technical judge to agree that the levelling technique is effective. Consistent dosing and tamping does of course have import in the café environment, reducing channelling and promoting evenness of extraction, which will likely see the OCD become de rigueur on many specialty café stations.

As well as selecting amazing coffee, the barista competition is also about what the barista has done to create the sensory experience. This has come to see brew ratios become common language, often changing from one course to the next. Accurate brew ratios of course require accurate scales, and Acaia were very much the most commonly used tool for this. Whether weighing doses and signature drink ingredients with the Acaia Pearl or weighing out extraction with the Acaia Luna, these scales were this year an almost inevitable piece of kit.

There were of course many other cool bits of kit used across the competition this year, and I have to throw a shout out here to Ben Put of Canada, placing third, who used his returning vacuum chamber to remove carbonic acid from his espresso drinks, as well as a custom made pressurised syphon to create a “full immersion espresso” for his signature course, pushing higher extraction and boosting Malic acidity. For aspiring competitors, Ben’s performance is definitely worth a watch, as it provides an amazing summation of both coffee knowledge and progressive barista technique by, as he states, taking risks.

As well as representing producers, the performances at the WBC are a great outlet for equipment innovation.

The drive to be more consistent, manipulate extraction, work faster or simply be tidier sees the use of equipment designed for this purpose or retooled for our industry. The EK43 was primarily a deli grinder before Matt Perger and Charles Babinski dragged it kicking and screaming into the world of espresso. It is now of course one of two compulsory sponsor grinders! Of note, the Puq Press made a couple of appearances this year, with technology further tightening dose and tamp technique. Competitors may well be giving over one of their two allowed electrical devices this competition season to this neat bit of kit.

As a Head Judge at the World Barista Championship, I am obviously a disciple of its value within the specialty coffee ecosystem. Beyond the examples I’ve given above, the concepts, flavours and community expressed at these events have over the years continued to inspire me as a coffee professional and excite me about the industry’s future. Whilst the competition format is by no means perfect in its representation of the wider specialty coffee world, it does undoubtedly provide a unique forum for innovation and evolution of coffee, technology and the barista craft.
If you’ve been wondering what it’s all about or debating throwing your hat in the ring, I’d heartily encourage you to do so – whether as a competitor, spectator, judge or volunteer.

About the Author
Brydon Price, a proud Kiwi ex-pat, is a WCE Representative and Head Judge plus certified Q Grader. A passionate specialty coffee ambassador, he leads Sales and Account Management for Five Senses Coffee in Victoria and Tasmania.

Brydon Price (Judge) left, Charlotte Malaval, France
Photo credit: Jake Olson for World Coffee Events





MPM Advertisment
 
 

 

Austraw

p: +61738880566 e: sales@austraw.com.au w: www.austraw.com.au f: @austraw.au i: #austraw.au Austraw P/L soon to be trading as Bygreen, is a family owned Australian business manufacturing and importing a range of Food Packaging ...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Almond Breeze Wants to Make You #Instafamous

Sydney, Australia, 19 July 2018: Almond Breeze, the world’s leading almond milk brand, is celebrating the mouth-watering creations made by its social media fans by featuring the tastiest in its new advertising campaign. A min...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

5 simple ways to protect your business from scammers this tax time

The end of the financial year isn’t just a busy time for businesses – it’s also a prime time for cybercriminals who try to steal your information and money. It’s a good time to stop and remind your employees of the ...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Givex

p: 61 7 5322 5360 e: sean.brandon@givex.com w: www.givex.com f: @GivexCorporation Givex offers omnichannel POS, gift card, loyalty and stored value ticketing solutions which drive sales for our clients, help them better underst...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
Advertisement
 

Honest to Goodness

p: 02 8310 1800 e: info@goodness.com.au w: www.goodness.com.au f: @organicfoodsydney i: #teamgoodness Honest to Goodness is a leading Australian supplier of certified organic wholefoods & natural products. Our extensive ran...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Skip

p: 1800 001 852 e: support@skip.com.au w: www.skip.com.au/venues f: @SkipApp i: #skipapp Skip – the smarter way to offer online pre-order, cashless payment and loyalty. Skip is the app that allows customers to skip the qu...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Introductory Espresso Machine Technician Course – July 25-26

Do you have a handy team member in your coffee business that is repairing your espresso equipment but needs some assistance in understanding the technical side of being a coffee technician? This two-day course is designed for n...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Sanremo Australia

p: 02 9898 2200 e: info@sanremoaustralia.com.au w: http://www.sanremoaustralia.com.au f: @SanremoCoffeeMachinesAustralia i: #sanremoaustralia Sanremo Australia is relatively young company driven by a team of dedicated professio...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

REDCAT

p: 1300473322 e: hello@redcat.com.au w: www2.redcat.com.au/cafes f: @RedcatPOS i: #RedcatPOS Hospitality software, by hospitality people, for your hospitality business. Redcat provides a locally developed and supported, integra...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Golden Bean pioneering the competition space

It was just over ten years ago that I had a vision as to how we could showcase the hidden heroes of the coffee world. The Coffee Roaster was the little gem working at the back end of the business, developing the product that ma...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

KEVIN BACON’S RETIRING!

It’s been a roller coaster and wonderful ride with Kev, who’s been a star of The Grounds for over 5 years now and we’d like to honour the big guy with 7 Weeks of Kevin – a celebration of all he’s given to The Grounds ...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

The Health Nutt

t: 1300 557848 e: info@thehealthnutt.com.au w: thehealthnutt.com.au f: @thehealthnutt1 i: #thehealthnutt The famous Protein Balls, Raw Slices and What The Fudge by The Health Nutt – Sydney’s leading cafe supplier for ra...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Coffee drinkers may live longer

For people who love a morning cup of coffee, and a few more cups throughout the day, there is good news. Coffee drinkers may live longer, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JA...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

New minimum wage takes effect

The Fair Work Ombudsman is calling on businesses to check the new minimum pay rates that apply ahead of a new national minimum wage coming into effect from the first pay period on or after Sunday, 1 July 2018. From this date, t...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Registering a business just got easier

Use the Business Registration Service to help you get your business up and running.     Are you looking at registering a business? The Business Registration Service makes it easy to apply for key business and tax regi...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Cafe Culture Digital Issue 5 – Now available

Latest news, trends, products and reviews – every month.       THIS MONTHS FEATURES: – The Grounds discuss the value of baristas – Mixing with the best – with Alchemy – Uniwell’...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

NEW APP GIVES FARMERS REAL-TIME GRAIN OF TRUTH

For the first time, Australian farmers can forecast grain yield at the touch of a button, thanks to a new smart phone app developed by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO. The innovation, known as ‘Graincast&...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

DINING A TOP PRIORITY FOR DOMESTIC TOURISTS

Data from the most recent National Visitor Survey (NVS) released today has shown an increase in domestic tourists’ overnight spend on restaurant and takeaway meals, both in terms of the dollar amount and as a proportion of ov...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Don’t pay for government grant information

Watch out for government grant scams… Last updated: 27 June 2018 Are you looking for a government grant to help fund your business? Don’t get caught out by scams and paying for access to government grant information. Go...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Buhler

p: +61 (0) 3 9872 7900 e: buhler.melbourne@buhlergroup.com w: www.buhlergroup.com f: www.facebook.com/buhlergroup Bühler is setting worldwide standards in the production of coffee machinery. Product quality, process efficiency...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Harney Teas

t: 03 9099 0293 e: Info@Harneyteas.com.au w: www.harneyteas.com.au/ f: @harneyandsonsaustralasia/ i: #harneyandsons_australasia/ Harney and Sons luxury tea have a wide range of wholesale products that include the traditional to...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Essential Coffee

t. 1300 324 111 e. info@ebg.com.au w. www.essentialcoffee.com.au Essential Coffee provides managed coffee solutions to thousands of businesses across Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, The Middle East and United Kingdom. ...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Essential Coffee

t. 1300 324 111 e. info@ebg.com.au w. www.essentialcoffee.com.au Essential Coffee provides managed coffee solutions to thousands of businesses across Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, The Middle East and United Kingdom. ...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Milkadamia – macadamia milk:

w. www.milkadamia.com.au e. enquiries@milkadamia.com.au f. facebook.com/milkadamiaau i. Insta – @milkadamiaau Milkadamia is a family owned, vertically integrated human sized macadamia endeavour. Because our family grows t...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Assisting students with special behavioural needs.

  Café Culture recently was asked to assist in setting up a practice café at the Naremburn School. This kitchen project is being run by 2016 Master Chef Australia session eight winner, Elena Duggan, and is aimed at assis...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Artisti Coffee Roasters

E: info@artisti.com.au P: 66 53 1182 W: www.artisti.com.au Insta: #artisticoffeeroasters FB: @artisticoffee Address: Unit 3/11 craft Close, Toormina. NSW 2452 Living and breathing coffee with 24/7 good coffee vibes! Yes, of cou...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Start your business off on the right foot!

Don’t start a business in Australia without using business.gov.au’s new Starting a Business Guide!   Thinking of starting a business? Or maybe you’re in the early phases of operating? Setting up your own business is exci...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

The Gig Economy: Navigating new ways to work

It’s Friday night and it has been a long week.  The fridge is as depleted as you are and the mob needs feeding. But that’s okay, because there are endless choices for dinner and several ways in which it can be delivered to...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

R&CA WELCOMES PAYROLL TAX AND TRAINING INITIATIVES IN NSW BUDGET

Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) has welcomed initiatives aimed at reducing the cost of doing business as well as expanding the accessibility of apprenticeships throughout NSW unveiled as part of today’s 2018 &#...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Is your tax practitioner registered?

A reminder for all small business owners.   The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) is reminding all small business owners to check their tax agents, BAS agents or tax (financial) advisers are registered with the TPB, if you use one...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

TOURISM AND SMALL BUSINESS WINNERS IN QUEENSLAND’S 2018 – 19 BUDGET

Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA)  has welcomed the Queensland Government’s  budget measures to support the State’s tourism and small business  sectors  as outlined in  its  2018 – 19 State  Budget...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Cultured Products: Riverina Fresh

P. 1800 993 081 E. consumer.relations@riverinafresh.com.au W. www.riverinafresh.com.au FB. www.facebook.com/riverinafresh I. www.instagram.com/riverinafresh At Riverina Fresh, we’re proudly Australian owned and sourced exclus...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

HELP NEEDED FOR VICTIMS OF GUATEMALAN DISASTER

You’re invited to help with the funeral expenses at the Santa Clara Dry Mill in Antigua where workers died in the recent volcanic eruption in Guatemala. And with medical expenses of local children who’ve suffered massive bu...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Our thoughts are with Guatemala

Our thoughts are with Guatemala and it’s people, and with our coffee friends, during this time of hardship. These photos were sent to us from our friends at Terra Negra Trade  and show the force of the volcanic eruption...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

What is a Broccoli Latte?

The product, developed by Hort Innovation and CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, packs a healthy punch with approximately one serve of broccoli in every two tablespoons of powder. A Melbourne café became the fir...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Rubia Coffee Traders Vertical Gravity Fed Destoner

The aim of the Vertical Gravity Fed Destoner is to separate foreign heavy materials encountered in roasted coffee seeds. The design of this system is based on the principle that roasted coffee seeds are lighter than the mass we...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Changes are coming to GST

Make sure your business is ready from 1 July 2018. Last updated: 30 May 2018 From 1 July 2018, the goods and services tax (GST) will apply to retail sales of low value physical goods ($1000 or less) that have been imported to A...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

ACT’S ONE – STOP CAFÉ PROGRAM TO CUT THROUGH RED TAPE BURDEN

Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) has welcomed the AC T Government’s new One Stop Café program, as announced in the 2018 – 19 Territory Budget. Under the program, café – owners will be able to acces...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

The WTBC experience with Tania Stacey

WTBC experience – Tania Stacey The opportunity to participate in the Shanghai WTBC was an experience that helped to build on my knowledge of the modern tea world.  It is a competition platform that suits competitors from...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Countrywide Café of the Year – Winners

In February this year, Countrywide, Australia’s largest Food Service Distributor Group, launched a brand new promotion, ‘Countrywide Café of the Year’. The competition created quite a buzz across the nation, giving away ...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Cafe Culture Digital Issue 4 – now available!

Latest news, trends, products and reviews – every month. THIS MONTH FEATURES: – Insights to what shapes your industry report – Styling with The Grounds – Politics, logistics and direct trade with Phil Di...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

2018 Speciality Tea Awards

Royal Hobart Fine Foods has opened up to the blossoming Australian specialty tea industry and created 15 categories which will be awarded Gold, Silver & Bronze Metals n the 29thof July.   entries.hobartshowground.com.a...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Barista Supplies

Proudly designed and made in Australia, the Temptag milk thermometer sticker gives baristas greater control when steaming milk. An important part of serving a great coffee is the consistency in milk temperature. The patented Te...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

2018 Breezey Masters Latte Art Competition enjoys a wildly successful 2nd heat in Perth

The WA heat for Breezey Masters 2018 made for an intense spectacle on the evening of May 30th. Once again we had a fantastic turnout of 20 competitors fighting for their place in November’s Melbourne Grand Final. We were extr...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Brazil to host coffee world championships for the first time

In November, the International Coffee Week will host 4 international championships with competitors of over 40 nationalities and thousands of visitors The World Cup of Coffee with its various categories is happening, and it wil...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

The battle for Australia’s best brew heats up

The claim of Australia’s coffee capital is officially up for grabs, as international travel authority Lonely Planet publishes its Global Coffee Tour this month. Melbourne has the famed reputation for Australia’s best coffee...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 

 

Cafe Culture Digital Issue 3

Cafe Culture Digital Cafe Culture Digital Issue 3 – Reusable cup feature  
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Cultured Products – DaVinci Gourmet

DaVinci Gourmet, The Story of Flavour Genius. We believe that Baristas and Mixologists are creative and that they seek perfection to amaze their audiences. We are the contemporary choice for professional drink makers inspired b...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 
 

Coffee Waste Is Now Fetching a 480% Premium Over Coffee Itself

“Aida Batlle grows coffee on her family’s farm in the hills surrounding El Salvador’s Santa Ana Volcano. Like generations before her, she had little use for the skin that encases the beans, so she’d turn it into ...
by Cafe Culture Mag
 

 




ad