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2020 Australian Coffee Championships

The 2020 Condesa Co Lab Australian Coffee Championships once again demonstrates our leadership on the world coffee stage.

After thorough and careful planning, I can proudly say that the 2020 Condesa Co Lab Australian Coffee Championships were a resounding success.

Kieran Westlake is the President of the Australian Specialty Coffee Association.

When ASCA first planned to host the competitions in South Australia last year, we did so with the intention of making it our largest Nationals to date. While COVID-19 presented difficult, challenging times and a lot of unknown, we didn’t abandon our hopes and ambition for an Australian Coffee Championships unlike any other.

We knew the 2020 Condesa Co Lab Australian Coffee Championships would look and feel different. It was my vision, along with the ASCA Board, to deliver a first-ever fully digital championship. We could see the resilience of our coffee industry and the work and sacrifices all Australians were willing to make to beat this pandemic, and we wanted to give back and provide hope for all our members, sponsors, and competitors. By the start of this year, we were confident we could make these competitions happen.

A snap five-day lockdown in Victoria only weeks out had us on edge, but things quickly settled, and the coffee industry’s best of the best flew in from around the country to demonstrate why Australia’s coffee talent is world renowned.

We are one of the very few countries able to host a national coffee championship this year and this is testament to Australia’s handling of the pandemic and our commitment to evolving and supporting the coffee community and industry.

Our first-ever livestream of the 2020 Condesa Co Lab Australian Coffee Championships gave us the ability to broadcast to all of our coffee community in the country and to those around the world. This would not have been possible without the support of our marketing partners at Show Pony, with a special mention to Matt Basso.

There are a number of people I’d like to thank for our accomplishment – all of our sponsors who made these competitions possible, my fellow Board members in particular Vice President Bruno Maiolo and the Competition Committee for organising the event, judges and volunteers who gave their time and energy, and the competitors who put on a great show. Our audio-visual, production crew, and emcees all delivered an incredible quality show.

A big congratulations to our champions: Vitasoy Barista Champion Hugh Kelly who believed enough in his coffees to present two species to judges that weren’t Arabica and first time competitors Sttoke Brewers Cup Champion Carlos Escobar and TCX Cup Tasters Champion Charlie Chu who beat the odds against seasoned competitors. Further congratulations to Danny Wilson who claimed the Monin Coffee in Good Spirits Championship for the third year straight, and Pauls Professional Latte Art Champion Victor Vu – who’s patterns reminded us of coffee’s ability to connect people.

It’s not quite clear when our champions will be able to represent Australia on the world stage – right now Latte Art, Coffee in Good Spirits, and Coffee Roasting are the only world championships that have dates set. But whenever it may be, I believe we can all be proud and confident of how they will represent Australia’s coffee talent.

While 2020 proved to be a year of challenges and compromises, it led to what was one of our most successful nationals to date, with a wider reach and longevity than any past competition. If you missed any of the action, you can catch the highlights on our website:

This article appears in the April 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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