Kyoungha “Charlie” Chu of St Ali has won the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) 2020 Southern Region Cup Tasters Championship with a score of 8/8 in three minutes and six seconds.
Yuki Saito of Addict Food and Coffee placed second with a score of 8/8 in four minutes and four seconds. Sheng-Wei Wu of Cote Terra Coffee Roasters placed third with a score of 8/8 in five minutes and 18 seconds.
The Cup Tasters Championship sees competitor’s speed and accuracy put to the test. The coffee cuppers demonstrated their ability to distinguish the taste differences in specialty coffees by identifying the odd cup in each triangulation of eight as quickly as possible.
At the Southern Region competition, hosted at St Ali in Port Melbourne on 26 October, Charlie says he was able to achieve his result by focusing on more than just the flavour of the coffee.
“I focused on smelling the aroma when I cupped the coffee,” Charlie says.
“Body, mouthfeel, and acidity can be different depending on the temperature and how much coffee is in the cup, however the aroma remains consistent. That’s the key.”
Charlie chose to enter the competition after taking part in a Specialty Coffee Association sensory course.
“I wanted to have my own standard to test coffee flavour when I’m working, especially when in the morning when I’m dialing in,” Charlie says. “Cup Tasters seemed like a good way to test my skill.
“I saw the 2019 Australian Cup Tasters at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo and it inspired me to take part.”
Charlie took part in and won several small cupping competitions in the lead up to the Southern Region but says the ASCA competition wan an entirely different beast.
“I was nervous because the scale is different and there are so many people watching,” Charlie says. “But after practicing at least three days a week for the past nine months, I felt I was ready.”
St Ali also hosted the ASCA 2020 Southern Region Barista, Brewers Cup, and Latte Art Championships.
Anthony Douglas of Axil Coffee won the ASCA 2020 Southern Region Barista Championship, Ben Cheong of Veneziano placed second, and Matt Perger of St Ali.
David Train won the ASCA 2020 Southern Region Brewers Cup, while Hyunsuk Ko of Bennetts placed second and Devin Loong of Ona Coffee placed third.
Victor Vu won the ASCA 2020 Southern Region Latte Art Championship, Louis Cheng of Poolhouse Coffee placed second, and Zhao Ting Wu of Cote Terra Coffee placed third.
David, Victor, Anthony, and Charlie have earned positions alongside the #ASCATop12 in their respective fields of the ASCA 2020 Australian Coffee Championships.