The baristas of Mecca Espresso cleaned up at last weekend’s Australasian Specialty Coffee Association’s (AASCA) NSW Detpak Barista Championships. With four of Mecca’s baristas placing in the top 10.
Congratulations to Trisatya Dharmawan of Mecca Circular Quay who took out first place, his colleague Bettina Kurth, also of Mecca Circular Quay, placed 5th as well as roasting Tri’s coffee. Baristas Iain McRae and Tuli Keidar, of Mecca Ultimo, placed 7th and 10th respectively.
The competition requires baristas to prepare a set (x4) of espressos, cappucinos and a signature beverage. Competitors performances are assessed by a panel of sensory judges, taking into account both taste and presentation, two additional judges assess the competitors’ technical skills.
The successes marks the end of many months preparation. Sam Sgambellone (Mecca Espresso) and Scottie Callahan (Belaroma and Australian Barista Champion 2010) initiated a weekly industry training session for would-be competitors at Mecca Ultimo. Together, competitors from Mecca Espresso as well as the likes of Belaroma, Wedge Espresso and Single Origin trained and rehearsed their presentations.
Following the NSW Detpak Barista Championship, AASCA held the NSW Cup Tasting Championships. Cupping competitors were presented with eight unmarked/blind sets of coffee to cup. Each set contains three coffees. Two of the three coffees are the same, the third is different. Competitors must determine the odd one out. Sometimes the difference is minimal, i.e. the coffees may be from the same region but different farms. The competitor who identifies the most coffees wins.
Sam Sgambellone of Mecca Espresso placed first winning the Cup Tasting Championship for the second year in a row. Preston Peachey, barista at Mecca Espresso Ultimo placed 2nd.
Trisatya Dharmawan and Sam Sgambellone will compete at the finals of the Australian Barista and Australian Cup Tasting Championships in Melbourne in May. The winners of the final round will then represent Australia at the World Barista Championships and World Cup Tasting Championships in Vienna Austria in June.