Tilly Sproule of Tim Adams Specialty Coffee has established herself as one of Queensland’s most prominent baristas, having won the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) Northern Region Barista Championship for four years in a row.
“It feels incredible [to win again],” Tilly says. “I feel extremely honoured and proud.”
Tilly’s routine on 15 September focused on how to make competitions concepts approachable to customers, such as terroir, coffee flavours and the stories at origin.
“This year I was extremely lucky to have access to really special coffees from Jamison Savage from Finca Deborah in Panama,” Tilly says.
“It was exciting to showcase different expressions of flavour across all three courses, focusing on terroir for espresso as a washed Geisha, and then I explored the approachability of flavours in a milk-based experience using a natural processed Geisha.”
Tilly says Jamison’s coffee production was down 75 per cent this year due to severe weather conditions.
“Unfortunately, this is the reality faced by coffee producers around the world,” Tilly says. “It certainly makes us appreciate the sacrifices producers make to share their coffees with the world.
My team and I [were] very grateful to have the opportunity to share and experience Jamison’s coffees at Regionals this year.”
Tilly’s signature used Whole Cherry Carbonic Maceration Geisha. This processing method highlights the terroir of the farm and expresses different flavours.
“I played around with fermentation using different cultures that created similar bacteria and yeasts that are created during my coffees fermentation,” Tilly says.
She fermented cascara from Finca Deborah with kefir in an oak barrel to create the depth of flavour in her drink.
Tilly added some filter brew of the whole cherry carbonic maceration – which tasted like roses. She charged it with Nitrogen, allowing the gas to rest with the coffee for a short time to create a creamy tactile experience.
Tilly encourages up-and-coming baristas to compete, and is even willing to help.
“Don’t let the word ‘competition’ scare you,” she says.
“This is a unique platform that allows you to grow as a barista, challenges you to think outside the box, hone in on your techniques and experiment with coffee beyond what you could ever imagine.
If you are wondering where to start, then get in touch with me and my team at Tim Adams Specialty Coffee, between Tim and myself we hold seven QLD titles and one Australian title. We’d love to give guidance to anyone who has that barista competition twitch.”
Tilly says she is thankful for the support of her team, head roaster James Pedrazzini and mentor Tim Adams.
“I’m on this competition journey with them, they feel every single emotion and they’re with me every step of the way,” she says.
“I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for us.”
Tilly will now compete at the 2019 ASCA Australian Coffee Championships, taking place at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo from 7 – 9 February.
Image credit: Brie Lucas