Australia’s Richest Barista sponsors discuss the importance of the competition

Australia's Richest Barista

Australia’s Richest Barista sponsors on the importance of the inaugural competition and why the end reward will be about more than just a giant cheque.

Businesses across the specialty coffee industry are constantly looking for ways they can add value. Being creative and thinking outside the square can help businesses create a point of difference, and it’s exactly what judges in this year’s Richest Barista competition are looking for.

“The competition is designed as a fast-paced, knock-out style event that tests each barista’s sensory and practical skills,” says Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) Show Director Lauren Winterbottom.

Round one will see baristas compete two at a time for 12-minute periods, preparing espresso, latte, alternative milk, and signature drinks. Competitors will need to incorporate Naked Syrups’ beverage flavourings into their signature drinks. A winner will be immediately declared from each round.

Half of these baristas will progress to round two: the latte art smackdown. Each barista will prepare three different patterns, displaying a mix of traditional latte art and their own creations. The winners will then proceed to the finals. The final round will be a three-round cup tasting competition. Baristas will have to accurately and quickly identify which coffee out of the three groups, is the odd one out.

Competition sponsor, Naked Syrups, sees Richest Barista as an opportunity for baristas to test their creativity using readily accessible ingredients, like its flavourings, powders, and sweet sauces, which can upgrade any café menu.

“It will be fantastic to see the Naked Syrups range in action and the most creative finished products baristas can come up with in the Richest Barista competition, which hopefully will be put into action once back in the workplace,” says Naked Syrups Business Development Manager Ryan Kalatzis.

“The beauty of our industry is that it is so diverse. Having local and international baristas take part in this event presents a great opportunity to share and adapt ideas and see talent from near and far on display.”

Held at MICE from 17 to 19 August, baristas will have the chance to win a share of a $40,000 prize pool, the richest cash prize on offer for a barista competition final anywhere in the world. The winner will receive $25,000, runner-up takes home $10,000, and third place wins $5000.

The Alternative Dairy Co. Senior Business Leader for Café and Food Service Rachel Glasbergen says supporting competitions like this are what drives the coffee industry. She says the alternative milk brand is eager to be a part of that journey.

“Celebrating 10 years of MICE is quite a milestone and working with the team to raise the profile of plant-milks in the competition space is important,” Rachel says.

Rachel says The Alternative Dairy Co. looks forward to connecting with the café community in a different environment and wants to bring something fresh to the plant- based barista space.

“Plant-based barista milks are a massive part of the industry now and specialty is where you find passion and innovation, which is who we are as a company. MICE helps keep us on top of trends and pioneers new ones to continue to drive quality,” she says.

Australian-owned dairy company Riverina Fresh is another brand that’s chosen to sponsor the Richest Barista Competition.

“We appreciate the opportunity to have our milks in the hands of the best baristas, to hear their feedback and understand how we can support them,” says Riverina Fresh CEO Rob Collier. “We are fortunate that Australia is recognised as a leader in specialty coffee so I think it is a great opportunity for baristas to test and showcase their skills at events like this.”

There’s just a few months to go until MICE2023, but before then, MICE organisations will have a tough job of selecting the lucky cohort of baristas to take part in the inaugural Richest Barista.

“We wish all our baristas the best of luck. This could be the start of something big – for their career and their hip pocket,” Lauren says.

Filtration company BRITA is the official water sponsor of the competition.

To get your tickets, visit

This article appears in the June 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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