June 8, 2012

Fred Lullfitz

From Chief Sweeping Officer to National Cupping Champion

Queensland’s Fred Lullfitz has achieved one of the highest accolades in the coffee industry, winning the 2012 AustralAsian Specialty Coffee Association’s (AASCA) Cup Tasters Championship.The 22 year old Di Bella Coffee Qld Accounts Manager had managed to win himself a ticket straight into the finals, after winning the AASCA Qld Cup Tasting Championship held last November.

Fred knew the Australian Championships were going to be extremely tough. He had researched the Cup Tasting Champions from the other states who’d also earned themselves a one-way ticket to the final round – two being ex-world competitors. It was a little nerve-wracking, as Fred knew many of his fellow competitors had been in the industry for a lot longer than his two and a half years.

Before the competition, Moshe Tawill, the Coffee Purchasing Specialist at Di Bella, gave Fred some last minute training and the advice to not over-analyse the coffee. So although slightly over-awed, Fred was, at the same time, also quietly confident. He had put in the time and training and was prepared for the competition.

Having started with Di Bella Coffee in 2009 as a floor sweeper and earning the nickname of CSO (Chief Sweeping Officer), Fred slowly moved on and learnt how to use the roaster and help make coffees. He did every job imaginable and worked his way through the ranks, learning how to roast, cup and pour coffee along the way.

Even though he does not directly deal with coffee in his current role at Di Bella, the knowledge of roasting and cupping coffee has come in very handy for tasting competitions.

To train for the AASCA Cup Tasters Championship, Fred borrowed a roaster from Di Bella Coffee and roasted his own samples after work. On Saturdays he would taste his roasted samples with his fellow competitor, Daylan Isai, as part of his training regime.

In the competition,s finalists had eight minutes to guess the blend of eight different cups of coffee, and Fred swept them all away after earning a perfect score of eight out of eight in just over two minutes.

Fred’s advice on cup tasting competitions: “To compete in tasting competitions, you have to become familiar with a lot of different coffees and blends. Once you know the process behind what ends up in your cup, you have a better idea of how those flavour profiles and tastes were created, and you know what tastes to expect.”

Fred will now travel to Vienna in June for the World Championships.

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