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August 16, 2019

Competition success in Asia

What a perfect way to shrug the winter blues than taking a flight to Indonesia and taking in a quick glimpse of summer. I was invited to showcase our Java Roma Global Barista Challenge Competition at the Food and Hotel Indonesia trade show last week in Jakarta. The ASEAN Coffee Federation invited Cafe Culture to assist in running this fun team competition, inviting sixteen teams from all around South East Asia.

Justin Metcalf who is an Australian coffee roaster, and board member of the event was also head judge for the competition. Justin is very familiar with the Cafe Culture team based competition, having competed and judged in its past format. The competition has had many past lives where it was formerly known as the ‘World’s Richest Barista Competition’ and before that it was the ‘Trans- Tasman Barista Competition’ – as the name would suggest, a competition between Australia and New Zealand.

The ASEAN Coffee Federation Director Steven Tan and assistant Zan Wong did a great job organizing sixteen competing teams with only one month of lead time. Teams came from Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, Indonesia, Bali and Thailand. The competition is based around making coffee, and making it fast, to a high quality of standard in a realistic cafe environment. Two teams of four baristas competed opposite each other to race the clock making fifteen drinks in ten minutes. The ASEAN Coffee Federation organized many of its members to help sponsor the event helping to create a generous prize pool of $10,000.

The Singapore team (The Expendables) proved to be too hard to beat, taking home the prize money and trophy after having to replay a second final against ‘Hungry Birds’ from Bali for an exciting finish.

The competition invited experienced international judges from all over the ASEAN regions. The list included Basil Vasillou from Starbucks Indonesia, Craig Lawson from Alternative Dairy Co, Ibrahim Bin Ahmad from Tinnghia Coffee. I also had the pleasure of judging this fun event, it was a rewarding experience to see our event turn into such a professional competition, outside of Australia.

Food and Hotel Indonesia combined with the Indonesian Coffee Association also ran a Coffee Roasting Competition at the trade show. The winner for 2019 was from Expat Coffee in Bali, with their senior roaster Sermy Samma taking the glory of being Indonesia’s number one coffee roaster. It was a pleasure to go home via Bali and have the opportunity to hang out with the Expat team and help Sermy celebrate his victory. The founders of Expat, Shae and Jess McNamarra, put on a staff party to celebrate the win which was a fantastic team effort from all the staff at Expat. Shae and Jess have grown Expat into a sizable business, with 3 locations now open in Bali and many  other Cafes in Bali are now using Expats’ designer coffee blends. Shae and Jess have worked hard to replicate a specialty coffee business in Bali and to recreate an Australian cafe culture around the concept. Like many Australians that visit Bali most will make the effort to hang out at Expat Cafe enjoying the familiar Aussie cafe experience. Best of luck and thankyou for letting us be part of the Expat family for a few days.

My next stop is Auckland for the New Zealand Breezey Masters, so there goes my sun tan, but I can’t wait for some good coffee, great wine and a big bowl of Green Lipped Mussels.

Sean Edwards, Publisher Café Culture.

To read this article and other great stories visit the latest Cafe Culture digital magazine click here





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