Daniel Shadbolt of Veneziano Coffee Roasters is heading to World of Coffee in Milan to represent Australia in the World Coffee Roasting Championship (WCRC), taking place from 23 to 25 June.
A week out from the competition, Daniel is barely feeling the nerves. Rather, he has remained calm and collected, and is relishing the anticipation of competing on the world stage.
“The whole prospect of travelling internationally again is one thing, but I have no idea what it’s like competing in a world championship, so this is a new experience for me. I’m just grateful I get to do what I enjoy, and think it’ll be a great experience,” Daniel says.
“It’s a huge achievement just to get here. I’m happy with whatever happens and am just looking forward to enjoying the whole process and giving it my best shot.”
The WCRC is considered one of the most prestigious competitions that focuses on the craft of roasting. In the three-stage event, national competitors are assessed on their performance: evaluating the quality of green coffee, developing a roasting profile that best accentuates the desirable characteristics of that coffee, and roasting quality.
Jack Allisey, who claimed the 2017 Australian Coffee Roasting Championship (ACRC) title and placed second in the 2017 WCRC, has been coaching Daniel since he won the ACRC in February 2022.
“Jack’s been an incredible mentor this whole time, he’ll be travelling over there with me as my coach. We’ve been setting some time aside for two sessions per week, every week in the lead-up to the world event,” says Daniel.
“At Veneziano, we’re lucky enough to be affiliated with Cafe Imports in Australia. They have a Stronghold roaster, which is one of the machines that we’ll be sample roasting on at the world stage. So we’ve been doing a session with Cafe Imports every week.
“The other main machine we’ve been utilising is a Giesen roaster from Inkofe in Braeside. We’ve been doing timed competition run-throughs of different coffees so I can get as much exposure and experience on that machine as possible.”
Running slightly different to the Australian competition, at the WCRC, Daniel says competitors get a small amount of coffee for sample roasting, then a practice coffee to roast on the Giesen roaster.
“Then competitors have an open cupping session with their coaches. Jack and I will cut the coffees that I roast on the sample roaster and come up with a plan overnight, and then try and execute it the following day,” he says.
Daniel says he feels comfortable with the roasters and is content with his preparation.
“I’m confident with the machinery. How that translates to a slightly smaller machine on the world stage, and in that sort of environment and in much warmer temperatures, I don’t know. But that’ll come down to learning how to use the machines and translating what we’ve done here, over there,” he says.
“I feel like I’m as prepared as I can be. For me, it’s all about enjoying the experience, trying to relish the opportunity, and really just see where it takes me.”
Daniel departs on 18 June and plans to stay on for an extra two weeks for a much-deserved holiday, enjoying travel time and soaking up the European summer weather.
“I’ll have my wife and parents flying over, so it’ll be good to have friends and family around me while I’m there,” he says.
Co-founders of Veneziano Coffee Roasters, Rocky Veneziano and Craig Dickson will also be travelling to Milan to cheer Dan on.
Daniel says he’s lucky to work for Veneziano Coffee Roasters and is most thankful for the positive network around him.
“I’ve certainly had excellent mentors and support from suppliers who are willingly lending their expertise on the machines. That’s just a testament to the Australian coffee network,” he says.
For more information, visit venezianocoffee.com.au