If you’re reading this, thank you for popping by again, after all this time.
Much has happened in the world of coffee since my last post – The Australian Barista Championships, The Michel’s National Barista Competition Final, and of course the World Barista Championship in Atlanta. Outside of coffee, my iBook has finally been replaced by a MacBook, my niece-in-law gave birth to her 2nd son, and Ysolde celebrated her Aunt’s 90th birthday in the Bay Of Islands – New Zealand (and got to meet her Aunt’s 45 year old lover – a married Catholic man!).
Australian Barista Championships
I packed up the Thermomix (and the rest of my kit) and headed to the Gold Coast. Donny at Veneziano had roasted up a blend of Kenyan “Kichwa Tembo” and a pulped natural bourbon from Serra Negra, Brazil. I got my hands on it 2 days before comp, and it was exquisite! It was like drinking a cherry liqueur chocolate. In milk it became more of a hazelnut milk chocolate. My signature drink was a bit of a piss take – given the ribbing I get from some quarters because I work for a chain of patisseries, I created a liquid strawberry mocha short cake.
The upside down, strawberry mocha liquid shortcake – more than a mouth full!
I reduced fresh strawberries with some dark brown sugar using the Thermomix (yes, Sammy Piccolo used one at the WBC in Atlanta. I think I’ll post about the Thermomix next). After 8 minutes, it had a jam like consistency. I strained the jam and combined the liquid with some double cream. I then poured some of the strawberries & cream into conical sherry glasses and topped with espresso. To create the shortcake texture, I garnished the top of the drink with highly refined roasted hazelnut meal. With the 1st sip, the hazelnut meal and espresso combined to produce the lingering shortcake experience (the hazelnut meal was so highly refined it melted on the tongue). With the following sips, the espresso merged with the cream & strawberries – initially enhancing the cocoa flavour in the espresso and leading to a creamy strawberry finish.
Syd Low has posted great photos of the ABC at http://syd-low.com/09aascachamp (I’m in the photos from the Friday & Saturday highlights).
If you didn’t know already, Tim Adams won the ABC, with Zoe Delaney 2nd and Con Haralambopoulos 3rd.
As I mentioned, Donny at Veneziano roasted my coffee, and I thank him and the rest of the Veneziano crew for their support. I also have to thank Elanora Genovese from Genovese Coffee for the loan of the mighty Robur-E.
The Michel’s National Barista Competition – Final.
Michel’s ran state heats at the end of 2008, and we held the final at our National Conference in early Feb 2009. Competitors served 2 espressos, 2 cappuccinos and 2 signature drinks in 6 minutes. The winner was rewarded with $10,000 worth of travel! Yes, we take coffee seriously at Michel’s.
World Barista Championship, Atlanta.
Although I enjoyed the WBCs in Tokyo and Copenhagen, the budget wouldn’t allow for the trip to Atlanta this year. I spent much of my online time leading up to and during the WBC, following Emily Oak, Luca Costanzo and Anya Sereda (amongst many) as they blogged, logged and uploaded their way around the States. It looked like a fantastic event, and the added attraction of SCAA, really made me green with envy! The competition looked fantastic, with some exciting and risky performances. They say they’ll have performances available on ustream soon, so stay tuned. The only bummer was Carl Sara from New Zealand not making the Final. I was soooooooo looking forward to a showdown between Carl & Sammy Piccolo of Canada. In the end, Sammy came 2nd behind Gwilym of the U.K., with Michael Phillips of the U.S.A. in 3rd. Tim Adams came 13th and Carl Sara made 8th.
Syphon Brewing Demo at St. Ali.
St. Ali ran a Syphon brewing Demo back in February. They had Mieko, the 2006 Japanese Syphon Brewing Champion, demonstrate her brewing technique. I’ve got photos on my flickr, and I may post more about what I learnt on that night. The night reminded me why I bought a syphon brewer a year ago, so it’s had a work out since. The stand out coffee so far has been a Kenya Kitamaiyu from Seven Seeds, with a lovely stewed apple & strawberry flavour and crisp acid.
It’s back – The Coffee Chain Challenge.
The Coffee Chain Challenge is on again as part of Cafe Biz in Sydney, on Sunday May 3rd. Michel’s are entering a team, and we hope to win the title once again. Cafenatics from Melbourne will be competing, as will (I’m pretty sure) my old team from Coffee HQ. David Seng will head up a tough team from Cafenatics, and I think they’ll be the team to beat. While I’m in Sydney, I’ll take some time out to finally visit some of the cafes and roasters I’ve wanted to see for years.