Anthony Douglas of Axil Coffee Roasters wins Australian Barista Championship

Australian Barista Championship

Anthony Douglas of Axil Coffee Roasters has won the ASCA Vitasoy Australian Barista Championship. Anthony will now represent Australia at the World Barista Championship (WBC), taking place at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) in Melbourne in September.

“I feel amazing. This is my first time winning a national championship after seven attempts. I’m on top of the world,” Anthony says.

Gabrel Tan of Veneziano Coffee Roasters was runner up in his first year competing, and Angus Mackie of Ona Coffee placed third in the national championship, which took place from 17 to 20 August at the Melbourne Meat Market in North Melbourne, Victoria.

“I felt like I put on the best routine. I left nothing on the table. I’m just stoked,” Anthony says.

“The level of competition was tough. I went up against some incredibly talented people. I’ve watched a few of the routines myself and saw some excellent presentations.”

Anthony, a Melbourne barista and coffee training manager from Axil Coffee Roasters, spent months developing his routine for the championships. He credits his level of preparation for helping get over the line.

“We really left nothing on the table in terms of preparing for this competition organisation. I just felt like we were on top of everything as a team. I went out there with confidence, knowing that no-one could have possibly worked as hard as what we had. We worked our butts off leading up to this,” he says.

Anthony’s routine was judged on taste, technical skill, and presentation. His routine consisted of an espresso, a milk-based coffee and a coffee-based signature drink comprised of a pomegranate and feijoa syrup, juniper reduction, barhee dates and honey sourced direct from the coffee farm.

In each of his courses, Anthony used a natural anaerobic coffee, produced from Nestor Lasso of Finca El Diviso in Colombia.

To his national routine, Anthony introduced cryodesiccated milk, aroma discs to help keep the aromatics inside the coffee while increasing the vibrancy of flavour, and visual elements to help convey his message.

To achieved the cryodesiccated milk, the milk is frozen, and the pressure is lowered. Rather than water turning into a liquid, it turns into a vapour, leaving behind a powder of milk, concentrated by about 900 per cent.

“The result is super sweet, lots of fat and texture, and when blended with the original milk, is like supercharged milk that works really well in harmony with the coffee,” Anthony says.

Anthony says his win is a testament to the support and encouragement he’s received during his nine years at Axil. Boss and Axil Coffee Founder Dave Makin is a two-time Australian champion, and has been Anthony’s biggest mentor.

“Looking back and remembering my first year in the industry. I was very excited about the competition side of coffee – I found it such a fascinating concept,” Anthony says. “This year, I really wanted to revisit that fascination with coffee and its ability to create a sensory experience and a genuine connection between the barista and the coffee drinker. I wanted to create an exceptional experience worth remembering.”

That experience will now be watched by thousands who will flock to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center to watch the WBC. MICE last hosted the WBC in 2013. It’s been seven years since an Australian has won the event.

With just five weeks to go until the WBC, Anthony says he’ll start preparing a plan of attack in order to be ready to represent Australia on home soil.

“I’ll likely recruit as much support as we can from the judges and other people in the industry over the next few weeks. We want to put our best foot forward and represent Australia the best we can,” he says.

“It’s an incredible time to be an Australian representative at a home event. Obviously, there’s a home advantage with less travel involved and access to products and equipment, but the real work begins now.

The Melbourne International Coffee Expo will take place from 27 to 30 September, and is hosting the World Barista Championship and World Brewers Cup.

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