Automation reigns supreme in Barista Vs Machine competition

Veneziano Coffee Roasters hosted a Barista vs. Machine latte art smackdown on 25 July at Brew Bar in Canberra to test human skill and automation.

Sixteen contestants went head to head in the smackdown event. Of the pair, one competitor was selected to use automation, using the Puqpress tamping device and Übermilk milk steamer, with the other using traditional methods of hand tamping and texturing on the espresso machine. Each had to prepare two milk coffees that were judged on speed, latte art, wastage.

Joe Chalhoub of Barista Group, Ben Romeril of Veneziano Coffee Roasters and 2018 Australian Barista Champion Craig Simon judged the competition.

The winning barista from each pair advanced to the next round of eight then four, where taste was added to the judging criteria.

Chris Trigg from High Road café won the final round, taking away the prize of $500 for this efforts. In the bonus round, Chris faced the ultimate challenger – Craig Simon, straight from placing in the Semi Finals of the World Barista Championship. Chris used automation to make his coffees while Craig used traditional methods.

On this occasion, Chris proved automation had the winning touch, beating the WBC Semi Finalist.

The Übermilk is one of the more recent innovations of automation. With the push of a button, Übermilk produces ready-to-pour steamed milk, heated to a specific temperature to ensure consistency across every cup. Since embracing Ubermilk, cafés have reported improved workflow, speed of service and less wastage.

“Automation may not make a competition-level barista better, but it can make them faster and less wasteful. In addition, baristas who may not have the same level of experience will really see the benefits of embracing automation such as improved workflow, speed of service and less wastage,” says Veneziano Coffee Roasters’ Craig Dickson.

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