Sensory Lab’s Ben Morrow and Grinders Coffee’s Shae Macnamara have both made the finals of their respective coffee championship events in Shanghai, China.
Ben will represent Australia in the Final Round of the World Latte Art Championship (WLAC) on 1 April, after passing the Art Bar round with his Hungry Hummingbird design, and then the preliminary round.
The other competitors making the WLAC finals includes Umpaul Um of South Korea, Minako Yoshizumi of Japan, Dhang Tamang of the United Kingdom, Qi Li of China, and Agnieszka Rojewskska of Poland.
It was only four weeks ago that Ben won the Australian Latte Art Championships at Queensbridge Square in Melbourne.
Ben has been competing in the latte art coffee championships at state and national level for the past six years. He has placed runner up twice in the national finals, including last year to WLAC winner Caleb Cha of Cafenatics.
The coffee community will now be watching on to see if Australia can go back to back with WLAC wins.
“Every country is going to be working hard and pushing their designs to the limit,” Ben told BeanScene. “We’re living in a golden era of coffee in terms of techniques, technology, coffee processing, sourcing, and access to quality beans. It’s no surprise to anyone that our barista talent is at an all time high.”
In other good news, Shae will compete in the Finals of the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championships (CIGS) on 1 April.
The other baristas/bartenders rounding off the top six finalists include Hu Ying of China, Martin Hudak of Slovakia, Berg Wu of Taiwan, David Jameson of the United Kingdom, and Michalis Dimitrakopoulos of Greece.
On 10 March Shae wowed a panel of judges with his mixology skills to win the Australian CIGS.
For his nationals routine, Shae used Galliano liqueur and a Costa Rican Caturra honey-processed coffee for his drinks. In the finals of the World CIGS, Shae will have 10 minutes to produce two identical coffee and alcohol-based designer drinks, and two Irish coffees for the judges.
“It’s unbelievable to be this year’s national winner,” Shae said after his nationals win. “I’ve worked as a barista for the past 17 years and the whole time I’ve watched people win these competitions – people I aspire to be like – and now I’ve won.”
Here’s hoping Shae can now accomplish another win on the world stage. “I’ll certainly give it my best shot,” he said.
World Coffee Events (WCE) is also hosting the World Coffee Roasting and World Cup Tasting Championships (WCTC) at Hotelex. Unfortunately Australian representative Hyunsuk “Harry” Ko from Dukes Coffee Roasters failed to make the finals of the WCTC.
BeanScene wishes Shae and Ben the best of luck in the finals.