Anthony Douglas of Axil Coffee Roasters has won the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) 2020 Southern Region Barista Championship.
First time competitor Ben Cheong of Veneziano Coffee Roasters placed second and former Australian Barista Champion Matt Perger of St Ali placed third.
The competition, held at St Ali in Port Melbourne from 26 to 27 October, marks Anthony’s sixth time competing and first time winning the barista championship.
“This is the culmination of six years of hard work,” Anthony says.
“It’s thanks to my bosses Dave Makin and Zoe Delaney, who have always supported me and given me everything I need to do well, my head roaster Matt Crowley who not only roasts my coffee for me every year but has been a big part of my routine as well, and my coach Federico Bolanos from El Salvador.”
Anthony’s routine highlighted different aspects of a person’s flavour experience, “the things that we see, hear, and smell, everything outside of the cup that plays a part in what we taste”.
“I was inspired by feedback on my previous routine at nationals, where I scored well across most of the boxes except for flavour, so I realised there was a lot of work I need to do to understand flavour and how it was perceived and better control that,” Anthony says.
He used the same coffee, a natural processed Sidra from La Palma & El Tucan in Colombia, for his espresso, milk-based, and signature beverages. Anthony describes the flavour as including black cherry, blood orange, and 70 per cent dark chocolate.
“I really enjoyed its flavour intensity which ties into my routine as well,” he says. “It’s usually hard to find one coffee that works for each drink, but I was lucky that it had enough character to work with milk as well.”
With his signature beverage, Anthony aimed to play with the judge’s perceptions.
“I stored the components I was using in vessels that would ‘trick’ their mind into thinking they were tasting something else,” Anthony says.
“For example, I stored a passionfruit fusion in a mustard bottle and something sweet in a soy sauce bottle.”
St Ali also hosted the ASCA 2020 Southern Region Latte Art, Brewers Cup, and Cup Tasters Championships.
Victor Vu won the ASCA 2020 Southern Region Latte Art Championship, Louis Cheng of Poolhouse Coffee placed second, and Zhao Ting Wu of Cote Terra Coffee placed third.
David Train won the ASCA 2020 Southern Region Brewers Cup, while Hyunsuk Ko of Bennetts placed second and Devin Loong of Ona Coffee placed third.
Charlie Chu from St Ali won the ASCA 2020 Southern Region Cup Tasters Championship with a score of 8/8 in three minutes and six seconds. Yuki Saito of Addict Food and Coffee placed second and Sheng-Wei Wu of Cote Terra Coffee Roasters placed third.
Anthony, Victor, David, and Charlie have earned positions alongside the #ASCATop12 in their respective fields of the ASCA 2020 Australian Coffee Championships.
“I’ll be taking my same routine to the next level,” Anthony says. “I’m taking in the advice and feedback that I received at the regionals and see how far I can take it.”