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March 21, 2019

Global Barista Challenge 2019 / Melbourne Grand Prix 2019

It was all engines at full throttle as teams of baristas from all over the world competed for this year’s podium position at the Melbourne Grand Prix. This event was organized by Cafe Culture International to be a feature in the F1 Central Fan Zone area. Susan Strophair, Entertainment and Fan Zone Manager contacted Sean Edwards, Managing Director of Cafe Culture International, to assist in putting a fun competition together that would generate alternate entertainment. Coffee being such an important part of Melbournians culture, fitted the mix perfectly and as Susan was a previous cafe owner, she knew this competition format would be a hit for GP fans.

The event was a race where two teams of four baristas would make 15 drinks in 10 minutes. They would work off a random menu card where they would have to make a selection of different cafe beverages, simulating a real cafe experience. The competition had seven global teams competing, including a team from China and a team from North America.

The three judges would pick their favourite drink of each set. The judges were accredited internationally, with years of barista competition experience. We had Lance Brown from Veneziano – Head Judge of the World Latte Art competition, Andy Freeman from Coffee Snobs and 2018 Golden Bean winner, Justin Metcalf – Head Judge of WBC, Phil Di Bella from ICT and Di Bella Coffee and Jeff Dutton – Sales and Marketing Director for Alchemy Cordial and WBC Judge.

This year’s winning team was the Espresso Mercenaries. The team was loaded up with Australia’s finest. Sam Taylor from Soul Origin, who is a NSW Latte Art champion and Almond Breeze champion. Craig Simon, Australian Barista and Champion and finalist for the World Barista Competition. Caleb Cha, World Latte Art champion, and team captain Jeremy Regan, WBC Judge. All the teams competed in rounds of heats, working their position via knockout to the finals. The Espresso Mercenaries and the Mars Baristas had a neck to neck battle for a photo finish at the end. The team won over $10,000 in prizes to share.

The event involved sponsors using their equipment and products in all parts of the competition format. SanRemo Australia supplied two custom built Cafe Racers, being two group machines. The Anfim Espresso Grinders were from Espresso Company Australia. Barista Technology provided Puqpress for automated tamping. The milk sponsor was Riverina Milk and the almond milk was provided by Almond Breeze Barista Blend, with both milks included in many of the competition drinks served. Alchemy Cordial company provided a full flavour range of super food latte mixes and a large range of cafe syrups. Luxe Brew supplied the powdered chocolate for the mocha and cappuccino drinks. Coffee was provided by the official Grand Prix coffee sponsor, Genovese Coffee.

The competition was spread over the three days of the Grand Prix, in a purpose-built stage in F1 Central and it attracted thousands of spectators to the area. The event also had a BBQ competition sharing the stage, hosted by Jay Beaumont organiser of Meat Stock, so it made for some interesting smells being generated from this hospitality area. The Cafe Culture team also helped organise the Barber Shop event, run by Jimmy Rods Barbers and Barber Brands International. There is nothing better for a fun package than this combination of Barbers, Baristas and BBQ’s – and of course those fast cars.

This weekend’s Melbourne Grand Prix was the right setting for Almond Breeze Barista Blend to showcase its specialty almond milk with the global motor racing world. Melbournians love their events and they also love their coffee, so why not add some healthy options with sugar free barista almond milk. Having the opportunity to be able to showcase Almond Breeze Barista Blend using the skill of some of the world’s best baristas was the perfect mix. Almond Breeze took the opportunity to sponsor the Global Barista Challenge hosted by Cafe Culture and the Australian Grand Prix. Competitors had to make special cafe drinks using Almond Breeze Barista Blend in their presented drinks. It was a pleasure to see Latte Art World Champion, Caleb Cha and Almond Breezey Masters Champion, Sam Taylor and Sarah Jin wooing the crowd with their Almond Breeze artistic creations. The crowd was also treated to the Almond Breeze experience with samples handed out between competition rounds.





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